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WTO/WORLD BANK REGIONAL WORKSHOP ON PROCUREMENT REFORMS AND TRANSPARENCY IN PUBLIC PROCUREMENT Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 14 - 17 January 2003. Session 6 - Work of the WTO Working Group on Transparency in Government Procurement by Kodjo Osei-Lah WTO Secretariat. Presentation focus.

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Session 6 - Work of the

WTO Working Group on

Transparency in Government Procurement


Kodjo Osei-Lah

WTO Secretariat

presentation focus
Presentation focus
  • Twelve Elements of a Possible Transparency Agreement
  • Focus of this presentation: Items II – VII, IX
    • Aspects of Principles of Transparency and the work of the Working Group (WG) on elements of a future agreement on transparency in government procurement
item ii

Item II:

Procurement Methods

item ii procurement methods
Item II: Procurement Methods
  • Three broad categories generally identified:
    • Public or open tendering
    • Selective tendering
    • Limited tendering, e.g. direct contracting, single source procurement
  • Transparency principles in relation to selection of procurement method:
    • Transparency in choice of appropriate method
    • Transparency in use of less transparent methods, e.g. limited tendering
procurement methods 2
Procurement Methods - 2
  • Issues raised:
    • Flexibility in use of different procurement methods
    • Limited tendering: whether conditions of use fall within or outside the scope of a TGP Agreement
    • Suggestions for post-award publication of information on limited tendering when used
    • Administrative burden/cost
item iii

Item III:

Publication of Information on National Legislation and Procedures

extant publication requirements
Extant publication requirements
  • GATT 1994 Article X; GATS Article III:
    • Laws, regulations, judicial decisions, administrative rulings
  • GPA Article XIX:
    • Relevant laws, regulations, judicial decisions, administrative rulings, and procedures on government procurement
  • National practices:
    • National constitutions, procurement laws, regulations, various horizontal laws & guidelines
wg discussions
WG Discussions
  • Two main issues:
    • Type of information
    • Mode of provision
  • Type of Information: What should be provided?
    • Publication/public accessibility of relevant laws & regulations
    • Other laws/instruments, e.g:
      • specific procurement laws,
      • relevant administrative rulings
      • policy guidance
      • judicial decisions
    • Changes or amendments to the above
    • Issues raised: publication obligations onerous and costly
how information should be made available
How information should be made available
  • Requirement is for accessibility; information can be printed, electronic or both
  • Publication of information
    • In national language; WTO language optional
  • Levying of fees - views expressed
    • To be non-discriminatory and
    • Limited to cost of publication
    • Consideration also to be given to cost of creation (of information), and recovery thereof in fees
  • Cost impact and administrative burden on developing countries
enquiry points
Enquiry Points
  • Existing instruments requiring establishment of national enquiry point for information
    • GATS Art III:4, IV:2, IV:3
    • GPA Art V:11
  • Should a TGP agreement have provisions on establishment of enquiry points?
    • Purpose: provision of info on national legislation, etc
    • Case of decentralised procurement systems
item iv

Item IV:

Information on Procurement Opportunities, Tendering and Qualification Procedures

main issues and approaches in wg
Main Issues and Approaches in WG
  • Main issues
    • Prior availability of information
    • Sufficiency of information
  • Approaches raised in WG discussions
    • What should be the content of information?
    • Nature of provisions in an agreement on prior information that should be provided:
      • stipulated list of minimum requirements?
      • illustrative list of prior information?
      • general guiding principles only?
approaches contd making information available
Approaches, contd;Making Information Available
  • Approaches, contd
    • Possible minimum content of information
    • National preferences
      • outside scope of a future transparency agreement
      • nevertheless, relevant prior information to be provided
  • Making information available
    • Through publication, or
    • Publishing via an accessible source
    • Media: printed or electronic or both
selective limited tendering
Selective & Limited Tendering
  • Case of selective or limited tendering:
    • Certain basic types of information to be provided?
    • Prior information requirements otherwise to apply to open tendering?
  • Small-value procurements
    • to be exempted from information requirements?
  • Administrative burden/cost
item v

Item V:

Time Periods

wg discussions17
WG Discussions
  • General Considerations
    • Significant variations in national practices/legislations
    • Due regard to be accorded to type of procurement
    • Minimum or harmonised time periods not to be prescribed
  • Possible criteria:
    • Sufficient/reasonable time to prepare / submit bids
    • Non-discrimination in application of time periods
issues and points made in wg
Issues and points made in WG
  • Clarity / certainty of term “sufficient” time
  • Time periods to be specified in tender notices
  • Any changes to time periods made known / generally accessible
  • Whether time periods relate to transparency
item vi

Item VI:

Transparency of Decisions on Qualification

main issues in wg discussions
Main Issues in WG Discussions
  • Two main issues
    • Transparency of qualification criteria
    • Provision of information – on decisions & registration lists
  • Criteria to be
    • pre-established and pre-disclosed
    • provided in sufficient time
  • Changes advised to suppliers, in non-discriminatory manner
  • Content or substance of qualification criteria
    • outside scope of a TGP?
main issues 2
Main Issues - 2
  • National preferences in favour of domestic suppliers (see also Item VII)
    • Outside scope of a transparency agreement
    • However, any preferences to be applied in non-discriminatory manner
  • Qualificationsystems
    • To be open to all eligible suppliers in non-discriminatory manner
    • Open to new suppliers
  • Provision of information on qualification decisions
    • Public accessibility of information
    • Provision to all participating suppliers
item vii

Item VII:

Transparency of Decisions on Contract Awards

elements in international instruments
Three broad elements

Transparency of Criteria

Receipt and opening of tenders

Ex post information on contract awards

Transparency of criteria


Evaluation of tenders

Participation of Suppliers

Award of contracts

Elements in international instruments
international instruments 2
Receipt & opening of tenders

Regularity/impartiality of procedures

Corrections & alterations




Ex post Information





International Instruments - 2
wg discussions transparency of criteria
WG Discussions - Transparency of criteria
  • Broadly in line with international instruments.
  • Issues raised
    • A TGP agreement not to set out criteria
    • Flexibility required, e.g. on
      • negotiations, force majeure
    • Should content of specification be addressed in a TGP agreement?
    • Advice received on development of specifications:
      • to be pre-disclosed or supplier barred
receipt opening of tenders
Receipt & opening of tenders
  • WG discussions broadly consistent with international instruments
  • Issues raised
    • Entities to have procedures to guarantee
      • regularity
      • impartiality
    • Whether setting of detailed procedures within ambit of work of WG?
    • Procedures to be transparent
ex post information
Ex post information
  • Provision of ex post information - Options:
    • In accordance with national legislation
    • Minimum content of information
    • Illustrative list
    • Debrief opportunity for unsuccessful suppliers
    • At discretion of procuring entity
  • Publication of information - whether
    • All cases or “less transparent” procurement only
    • Issues of cost/administrative burden raised
item ix

Item IX:

Other Matters Related to Transparency

item ix other matters
Item IX – Other Matters
  • Maintenance of records
    • Provides audit trail, basis of accountability
    • Type, form and duration of information maintained
      • Should an agreement have provisions on above?
  • Information technology
    • Low cost, uniform access to information for suppliers
    • However, possible technology barrier to some suppliers in developing countries – e.g. SME
    • Best endeavours provision?
other matters 2
Other Matters - 2
  • Language
    • Information on procurement opportunities to be made in Members’ official language
    • Certain information in a WTO language?
  • Fight against bribery and corruption
    • Possible impact of transparency on reducing bribery and corruption
    • However, outside scope of WG work?
    • To be dealt with through national legislation?
end note
End Note
  • A brief account of the state of discussion in the WG
  • For further information:
    • See WTO document pack available at this workshop
    • Visit WTO website