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Public Procurement

Monday 18 January 2021

After reaching the Trade and Cooperation Agreement on 24th December 2020:

Clarification of the scope and applicable regulations

For the purposes of the text that follows, the expression "Trade and Cooperation Agreement" must be understood as having been made to the Agreement reached between the European Union and the United Kingdom on 24th December 2020.

What will happen to Spanish economic operators when they submit bids for tenders published by UK contracting bodies after 31st December 2020?

As of 1st January 2021 the UK public procurement market in general will remain open, despite the end of the transitional period provided for in Article 126 of the "Withdrawal Agreement on of the United Kingdom from Great Britain and North Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Economic Community "(hereinafter, the" Withdrawal Agreement "). More specifically, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement guarantees Spanish economic operators access to public tenders held by contracting authorities in the United Kingdom as long as they are contracts covered by said Agreement, which is broader than the Agreement Government Procurement of the WTO (GPA). Additionally, the United Kingdom will become a member of the GPA as of 1st January 2021, once the transitional period expires. However, the date on which the GPA will enter into force for the United Kingdom is not yet known, as it depends on various ratification procedures.

The transition period ends on 1st January 2021. What effects will this have on access to the British public procurement market bearing in mind that on 24 December 2020 an agreement was reached on the future relationship in this area?

As previously indicated, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement of 24 December 2020 guarantees Spanish companies access to all public tenders held by UK contracting bodies on equal terms with British companies, as long as these tenders are covered by said Agreement. In general, the Agreement broadens the scope of application of the GPA, so the new situation improves that derived from the forthcoming entry into force of the GPA in the United Kingdom.

In this sense, it is pertinent to point out that the United Kingdom will become an individual member of the GPA as of 1st January 2021, with said Agreement entering into force when the ratification procedures have been completed. Therefore, once the GPA is in force for the United Kingdom, the access of Spanish companies to public tenders in the United Kingdom for contracts subject to it will benefit from the provisions of the GPA, which generally allows the access of the EU-27 to the UK public procurement market (for details, consult the GPA; which, for example, defines its scope of application by reason of the estimated value of the contract). To ensure there is no break in the GPA cover during the ratification period, the British Government approved an amendment to the Public Procurement (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations to guarantee the established rights of European companies.


Non official translation

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