Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Government procurement commitments in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement were under the spotlight at a conference held by the Public Procurement Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MoPI) in Hanoi on June 14.

Nguyen Thanh Tuan from the agency introduced Government procurement adjustments in the TPP, goods and services that need to be procured, and prices of bidding packages. He also analysed differences in selecting bidders before and after the deal takes effect.

Michael Trueblood, Director of USAID's Economic Growth and Governance Office, said USAID is assisting Vietnam in reforming its policies on government procurement.

USAID expert Mai Lam said the TPP is the first free trade agreement where Vietnam has made commitments on government procurement, and the government procurement agency will face difficulty in selecting bidders for bidding packages that properly observe the TPP requirements. This means that Vietnamese bidders will face a lot of challenges when approaching the government procurement market due to limited capacity and experience.

In order to improve effectiveness in the government procurement, Lam said Vietnam needs to study and then provide its bidders with information on the government procurement market of other TPP countries.

It is necessary to conduct a survey on the capability of Vietnamese bidders and build trade promotion programmes to boost Vietnam’s exports via the government procurement channels, he added.

Jean Heilman Grier, an international consultant, said when joining the TPP, Vietnam needs to recommend common requirements and principles as well as specific regulations and guidelines to include them in sub-law documents.

The country should also detail bidding requirements, including international commitments on bidding, he added.

Grier also recommended Vietnam revise Decree 63/2015/ND-CP on selecting bidders, focus on preferential programmes for small- and medium-enterprises; form independent arbitration agencies; disseminating the TPP government procurement commitments; and have tight regulations to avoid conflicts of interests and prevent corruption.-VNA