Brazil’s New Public Procurement Law

The George Washington Law School presented a very informative webinar on Brazil’s public procurement market on October 7. Brazilian procurement experts discussed Brazil’s new public procurement law as well as its negotiations to join the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). This post highlights key points relating to Brazil’s GPA accession negotiations, including the domestic preferences in the new law.

Brazil applied for membership in the GPA in 2020, becoming the first Latin American country to do so. It initiated GPA negotiations by tabling its initial market access offer in February of this year. 

The webinar panel offered a comparison of Brazil’s new public procurement law (Law 14.133/2021) and the U.S. procurement framework. Panelists also outlined the domestic preferences in the new law. They include small business preferences, price preferences for locally manufactured products and “national” services, selection of a Brazilian company as a tie-breaking criteria and the use of offsets such as technology transfer and local investment requirements. Such preferences would need to be addressed in Brazil’s GPA negotiations if they apply to procurement that it covers under the GPA. They might also be considered under the GPA’s provisions for special and differential treatment for developing countries.   

Panelists also pointed to preferences for procurement of recycled, recyclable and biodegradable goods in the law’s extensive environmental provisions. In addition, they detailed the law’s measures to address corruption and misconduct in public procurement. Those include making certain activities, such as bid-rigging, criminal offenses.

The panel pointed out some potential challenges with Brazil’s GPA coverage. They include the possible exclusion of its health and defense-related procurement as well as its state and local government procurement. In addition, if Brazil’s accession is not completed before its presidential election in 2022, the panelists speculated that a change in presidents could affect its GPA accession.

A recording of the webinar and materials are available on the website of GWU Professor Chris Yukins, who organized the webinar.

Jean Heilman Grier

October 7, 2021

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