Public procurement: Harmonisation of the rules and digital transformation

According to EU´s public procurement directives, WTO´s Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) and OECD´s “Recommendation on Public Procurement” (2015) the main principles of public procurement are the same and common. These principles are transparency, proportionality, equal treatment and non-discrimination. In accordance with rules and recommendations of EU, WTO and OECD by means of digital transformation it´s possible to ensure simply, fair and effective procurement procedures and effective competition, and also open the access to public procurement markets for new entrants and small and medium enterprises.

It seems that the common goal is clear. To ensure open, fair and transparent conditions of competition in the public procurement markets, the rules and regulations should be the same globally. With international obligations it´s possible to contribute the expansion of world trade on a multilateral, non-dicscriminatory basis.  

European Union, The World Trade Organization (WTO) and The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) aim to bring public procurement under internationally agreed common trade rules and regulations. To ensure open, fair and transparent conditions of competition in the government procurement markets, the rules and regulations should be the same globally.

To ensure open, fair and transparent conditions of competition in the government procurement markets, WTO have negotiated the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA). GPA is a binding international treaty which is ratified by 19 parties. The text of GPA includes rules requiring that open, fair and transparent conditions of competition be ensured in government procurement, such the same as in the European Public Procurement directives.

OECD has published Recommendation on Public Procurement (2015). OECD´s Recommendations guidelines the Public Corporate Governance in public procurement. It promotes the strategic and holistic use of public procurement. It is a reference for modernizing procurement systems and it can be applied across all levels of government and state owned enterprises, including the entire procurement cycle with elements of strategic governance such as budgeting, financial management and additional forms of services delivery. One important principle is that public procurement is a key economic activity of governments that is particularly vulnerable to mismanagement, fraud and corruption.

According to EU´s public procurement directives, WTO´s GPA and OECD´s Recommendations the principles of public procurement are just the same. These principals are transparency, equal treatment and non-discrimination.

According to European and international public procurement rules and recommendations the competitive procedures should be the standard method for conducting procurement as a means of driving efficiencies, fighting corruption, obtaining fair and reasonable pricing and ensuring competitive outcomes. Due to directives of EU and Recommendation of OECD if exceptional circumstances justify limitations to competitive tendering and the use of single-source procurement, such exceptions should be limited, pre-defined and should require appropriate justification and taking into account the increased risk of corruption.

Due to digitalisation the common and basic global trend is to reduce or abolish obstacles to the exchange of goods and services and extend the liberalization of capital movements. E-procurement refers to the use of electronic communications by public sector organizations when buying supplies and services or tendering public works. Increasing the use of e-procurement can generate significant savings for public economy. These savings would maximize the efficiency of public spending in the current context of fiscal constraints. E-procurement can also provide a new source of economic growth and jobs, including by facilitating access to public procurement contracts by small and medium-sized enterprises.

OECD recommends to ensure that specific tender opportunities are designed to encourage broad participation from potential competitors, including new entrants and small and medium enterprises. By means of EU´s e-procurement can also provide a new source of economic growth and jobs, including by facilitating access to public procurement contracts by small and medium-sized enterprises. OECD recommends that e-procurement tools should be simple to use and appropriate to their purpose, because excessively complicated systems could create implementation risks and challenges for new entrants or small and medium enterprises. According to GPA systems and software, including those related to authentication and encryption of information, should be generally available and interoperable with other generally available information technology systems and software. The core principles of this process are transparency, equal treatment, open competition and good governance which aims to improve international public procurement practices.

 

  • Marja-Liisa Järvinen
    Attorney-at-Law, CEO
    WinLaw Attorneys Järvinen & Co Ltd

 

 

 

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