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Barry McVay's FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH

DATE: February 1, 2000

FROM: Barry McVay, CPCM

SUBJECT: Identification of Foreign Countries Engaging in Discriminatory Procurement Practices

SOURCE: Federal Register, February 1, 2000, Vol. 65, No. 21, page 4860

AGENCIES: Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR)

ACTION: Request for Information

SYNOPSIS: Executive Order 13116 of March 31, 1999, Identification of Trade Expansion Priorities and Discriminatory Procurement Practices, requires the USTR to conduct a review by April 30, 2000, of U.S. trade expansion priorities and to identify priority foreign country practices which, if eliminated, are likely to have the most significant potential to increase U.S. exports; and to identify foreign countries engaging in discriminatory government procurement practices. USTR is requesting written submissions from the public concerning practices that should be considered for these purposes.

DATES: Submissions (20 copies) must be received by noon on February 25, 2000.

ADDRESSES: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, 600 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20508.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions concerning the filing of submissions should be directed to Sybia Harrison, Staff Assistant to Section 301 Committee, 202-395-3432; legal questions regarding Executive Order 13116 should be addressed to Demetrios Marantis, Assistant General Counsel, 202-395-9626.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: Part I of Executive Order 13116 requires the USTR is required to review, by April 30, U.S. trade expansion priorities and to identify priority foreign country practices which, if eliminated, would likely have the most significant potential to increase U.S. exports. The USTR is to take these factors into consideration when preparing the list of practices:

  1. The major barriers and trade distorting practices described in the National Trade Estimate Report;

  2. The trade agreements to which a foreign country is a party and its compliance with those agreements;

  3. The medium-term and long-term implications of foreign government procurement plans; and

  4. The international competitive position and export potential of United States products and services.

Part II of Executive Order 13116 requires the USTR to review, by April 30, other countries' compliance with the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) and other government procurement agreement obligations, and to identify countries that engage in a significant and persistent practice of discrimination against U.S. products or services in government procurement. According to Executive Order 13116, the USTR is to identify countries that:

  1. Are not in compliance with their obligations under the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement (the GPA), Chapter 10 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), or other agreements relating to government procurement (procurement agreements) to which that country and the United States are parties (EDITOR'S NOTE: See Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 25.6, Trade Agreements); or

  2. Maintain, in government procurement, a significant and persistent pattern or practice of discrimination against U.S. products or services that results in identifiable harm to U.S. businesses and whose products or services are acquired in significant amounts by the United States Government.

The USTR must submit to the congressional committees with jurisdiction in these matters a report on the priority foreign country practices identified under Part I of Executive Order 13116 and a report on countries engaging in discriminatory government procurement practices, identified under Part II of the Executive Order. In addition, the USTR is to publish the reports in the Federal Register. Also, the USTR may describe in the report foreign country practices that may warrant identification in the future or that were not identified because they are being addressed by provisions under U.S. trade law, existing bilateral trade agreements, or in trade negotiations, and progress is being made toward their elimination.

To help in the preparation of these reports, the USTR is inviting the public to identify priority foreign country practices and countries engaging in discriminatory government procurement practices that should be considered in accordance with the criteria established under Executive Order 13116. Submissions should (1) include information on the nature and significance of the practice; (2) identify the U.S. product, service, intellectual property right, or foreign direct investment matter which is affected by the practice; and (3) provide any other information considered relevant. This information may include information on the relevant trade and government procurement agreements to which a foreign country is a party, its compliance with those agreements, and any other information related to the factors identified in Parts I and II of Executive Order 13116.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barry McVay at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to BarryMcVay@FedGovContracts.com.

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