The government is pleased that the International Procurement Instrument is now entering into force.

Companies from the Netherlands and other EU countries that want to carry out public contracts outside the European Union must have better access to those tenders. That is the aim of the International Procurement Instrument that comes into force today. The instrument aims to ensure that EU entrepreneurs have the same chance of winning a contract as non-EU companies, thus creating a level playing field.

If the European Commission suspects that countries outside the EU (third countries) impose restrictions on EU companies in procurement, the Commission can investigate this. The Commission will then enter into discussions with the country concerned in order to remove the obstacles.

“We would like to continue doing business with countries and companies from outside the EU. That has always given us economic advantage and jobs. We believe in a level playing field. This means that Dutch companies should have just as much chance of winning foreign government contracts as foreign companies are allowed to participate with us. This tendering instrument is a strong stick for this.”

Minister Adriaansens of Economic Affairs and Climate

If this does not lead to a solution, the EU can take measures to persuade the third country to do so. The Commission will then make it more difficult for companies from that country to win a government tender in the EU. The International Procurement Instrument (IPI) ensures that contracting authorities (such as provinces, water boards and the central government) impose a fictitious score surcharge on tenders from the third country. If a company from that country participates in a government tender in the EU, the price for which the company offers the service or product is increased. This makes the offer from this company more unattractive than the tenders from EU companies that want to carry out the same contract.

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If the tender is awarded for quality, the score surcharge may not exceed 50 percent. If the prize is awarded only, the fictitious surcharge is doubled. In certain cases, the EU may also decide to exclude third country companies from tenders. Contracting authorities must apply a measure if tenders exceed certain contract values. For works and concessions, the obligation applies from € 15 million. In tenders for goods and services from € 5 million.

“With these new rules, we are taking an important step with the European Union towards a level playing field for our companies. The European public procurement market is one of the most accessible in the world, but abroad our companies often face barriers. With the IPI, we are going to tackle this problem, using the EU's market power to ensure that our companies have the same opportunities as foreign companies here. In the coming period, the introduction of the instrument will be central. I would therefore like to call on companies to continue to report signals about restrictions in countries outside the EU.”

Minister Schreinemacher for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation

In the coming period, a technical amendment to the Procurement Act will make it compulsory for contracting authorities to apply the instrument. The government is also working on information material so that contracting authorities and entrepreneurs know exactly what is expected of them.

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