EU Seeks Power to Ban Firms From Its Public Procurement Market

The European Union’s executive will seek the power to block companies based outside the EU from bidding for public procurement contracts in Europe as part of plans to boost the bloc’s arsenal against trade discrimination.

The EU’s top financial-services and trade officials plan to propose next month that the European Commission in Brussels should have the power to ban companies from winning public procurement contracts in the region if they are based in countries that “repeatedly discriminate” against European firms, Chantal Hughes, a spokesperson for the commission, said today in an e-mail.

The measure will be part of a broader proposal that will also clarify what access foreign companies get to EU public procurement markets through free-trade agreements and other accords, Hughes said. The aim of the initiative is to “re- establish a fair competition on the European market,” Hughes said.

The announcement of the measure, to be presented on March 21 by Financial Services Commissioner Michel Barnier and Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, comes as the EU clashes with China over possible subsidies for Chinese steel exports. China said last week that its businesses are “strongly dissatisfied” with the EU’s announcement last week that it may impose tariffs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Brunsden in Brussels at jbrunsden@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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