1.1 Membership/ Entry into Force/ Future negotiations


2.1 Scope and coverage

2.2 Obligations regarding sub-central levels of government

2.3 Government enterprises

2.4 Valuation of contracts

2.5 National treatment and non-discrimination

2.6 Rules of Origin

2.7 Offsets

2.8 Technical Specifications

2.9 Special and differential treatment


3.1 Tendering Procedures

3.2 Qualification of suppliers

3.3 Publication / Invitation to participate

3.4 Selective Tendering Procedures

3.5 Time limits for tendering and delivery

3.6 Tender documentation

3.7 Submission, receipt and opening of tenders and awarding of contracts

3.8 Negotiation with tenderers

3.9 Limited tendering


4.1 Bid challenge by interested suppliers

4.2 Dispute settlement


5.1 Exceptions

5.2 Special committees

5.3 Provision of information

5.4 Technical cooperation

5.5 Government entities in charge of gathering pertinent data

5.6 Divestiture of Entities

5.7 Rectification or modifications




The purpose of this document is to reflect and disseminate information concerning government procurement rules in integration arrangements in the Americas. The contents of this document do not reflect the opinion of the Inter-American Development Bank, its Member States, its organs or its personnel and do not purport to provide legal advise on any aspect of the issues covered. In the same way, the information in this document is provided "as is" with all faults, and without warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied. The Inter-American Development Bank, its Member States, its organs and its personnel and the Working Group on Government Procurement of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), its Member States and its representatives are not responsible for, nor are liable for, any damages, expenses, claims, suits, or injuries, whatsoever and of any kind, arising out or related to this material and information or to their use.



At the Summit of the Americas that took place in Miami on December 10, 1994, the Heads of State and Government of 34 countries from the Western Hemisphere approved a Plan of Action which included the mandate to conclude the negotiation of a Hemispheric Free Trade Area by the year 2005, denominated the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

Within this framework, two Trade Ministerial Meetings were held in order to advance the implementation of the Plan of Action agreed to in Miami. The first Trade Ministerial Meeting took place in Denver in June 1995. In this Meeting, the creation of eleven Working Groups was decided-- seven were established at that meeting -- and a request for technical support from a Tripartite Commission -- formed by the OAS, the IDB and ECLAC-- was made.

The Second Trade Ministerial Meeting was held in Cartagena, Colombia in March 1996. At that Meeting, a Working Group on Government Procurement, composed by representatives of the 34 countries, was one of the new groups established.

The Working Group on Government Procurement held its first meeting in Washington, DC on June 25 and 26, 1996. Delegates from 23 countries of the Hemisphere met and prepared a work plan to comply with the terms of reference of the Working Group, which includes the compilation, systematization and creation of an inventory of regulations on government procurement in the region?s integration arrangements and other existing agreements. The Working Group requested the Inter-American Development Bank to prepare a draft inventory of the regulations on government procurement in the region?s integration arrangements. This inventory was presented in the second Working Group meeting held in Washington, DC on October 22, 23 and 24, 1996.

At the second meeting the Working Group members agreed to provide corrections, additional information and/or comments in writing to the Chairman of the Working Group. Based on that input, the IDB revised the inventory accordingly and included the IDB?s Basic Procurement Policies and Procedures.

Following the 3rd Meeting of the Working Group on the February 4, 5 and 6, 1997. The inventory was submmited to the Vice-Ministers in Rio de Janeiro on April 15, 16 and 17 and approved for publication.

The Inter-American Development Bank is very pleased to be able to provide support to the Working Group on Government Procurement.

Washington, DC., January 1997.




1. This comparative study on government procurement regulations in integration arrangements in the Americas has been prepared by the Inter-American Development Bank at the request of the Working Group on Government Procurement -- Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Attending to that request, the report compared the Chapters on Government Procurement included in existing Integration Arrangements in the Hemisphere and the Agreement on Government Procurement of the World Trade Organization with the aim of emphasizing it similarities and differences in an objective way.

As requested by the Working Group, the IDB comparative study includes the following major topics which are the major elements covered in existing government procurement arrangements in which countries in the Hemisphere are parties:

-. Scope and coverage.

-. Obligations regarding sub-central levels of government.

-. Government enterprises.

-. Valuation of contracts.

-. National treatment and non-discrimination.

-. Rules of origin.

-. Offsets.

-. Technical specifications.

-. Special and differential treatment.

-. Tendering procedures.

-. Qualification of suppliers.

-. Publication / Invitation to participate.

-. Selection procedures.

-. Time limits for tendering and delivery.

-. Tender Documentation.

-. Submission, receipt and opening of tenders and awarding of contracts.

-. Negotiation with tenderers.

-. Limited tendering.

-. Bid challenge by interested suppliers.

-. Dispute settlement.

-. Exceptions.

-. Special Committees.

-. Provision of information.

-. Technical cooperation.

-. Government entities in charge of gathering pertinent data.

-. Divestiture of entities.

-. Rectifications or modifications.

The present study is based on the texts of the regional agreements submitted by the countries and builds on the government procurement section of the Analytical Compendium of Trade and Integration Arrangements in the Americas prepared by the OAS, without utilizing other sources. The study is divided in two sections:

First, a table which summarizes the information analyzed in the second section.

Second, a general schedule which analyses each agreement under each of the major topics selected.


2. The present inventory should be considered a preliminary study on the topic and subject to be improved and updated as appropriate by the governments of the countries that are signatories to the regional, sub-regional and /or bilateral agreements that have been included.

The topics selected cover nearly all of the subject matters related to government procurement in the integration arrangements in the Americas. However, the study was not conceived as a comprehensive and systematic regulatory scheme capable of governing all the aspects that should be included in a future agreement. The purpose of this inventory is to reflect the general framework in which existing arrangements operate and does not attempt to detail the particularities of the schedule pertaining to each signatory of the Agreements.


3. Although, there is a certain similitude between the provisions pertaining to the government procurement chapters in the existing agreements, different coverage, entities, thresholds and transition mechanisms are in place in these agreements and should be analyzed for each country in particular. For example, this is the case of the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, where the signatory countries have made certain derogations in relation to specific products and signatories in order to ensure reciprocity and to reflect what each country has negotiated.

Moreover, among the integration arrangements in the region, currently only NAFTA, the Group of Three Accord and the bilateral agreements of Mexico with Costa Rica and Bolivia contain provisions governing purchases by government entities. Consequently, of the 34 countries that will comprise the Free Trade Area of the Americas, only six countries have signed sub-regional agreements of this type. Nonetheless, the rest of the integration arrangements such as MERCOSUR, the Andean Group, the Central American Common Market and CARICOM are currently contemplating the inclusion of government procurement provisions in their agreements.


Glossary of Acronyms


  1. ANDEAN GROUP - Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.
  2. BPPP - Basic Procurement Policies and Procedures of the IDB.
  3. CARICOM - Caribbean Common Market.
  4. ECLAC - Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
  5. FTA - Free Trade Agreement.
  6. FTAA - Free Trade Area of the Americas.
  7. GPA - Government Procurement Agreement.
  8. GROUP OF THREE - FTA between Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela.
  9. IDB - Inter-American Development Bank.
  10. NAFTA - North American Free Trade Agreement.
  11. MERCOSUR - Common Market of the Southern Cone.
  12. OAS - Organization of American States.
  13. WTO - World Trade Organization.