Brunei Darussalam is one of the three countries that will open its procurement to the United States for the first time under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Unlike the other two (Malaysia and Vietnam), Brunei has already undertaken procurement commitments under another trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (P4 agreement) – the precursor to the TPP. As a consequence, it was able to offer broad coverage under the TPP, with limited transitional thresholds. This post examines Brunei’s procurement commitments.
Coverage of Entities: Under the TPP, Brunei will cover its Prime Minister’s Office and 11 ministries (Defense, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Education, Health, Development, Communication, Primary Resources and Tourism, Religious Affairs, Home Affairs, and Culture, Youth and Sports). It specifies the scope of coverage of each with a list of agencies under them. It also covers two entities in the other entities category: Authority Monetary Brunei Darussalam (except for direct inputs for the use in minting of Brunei Darussalam coins); and the Employee Provident Fund. Brunei does not have any sub-central entities.
Goods and Services: Brunei is the only party to cover the procurement of all goods, services and construction services, with few exclusions. Its exclusions include any procurement by the office of Nurul Iman’s Palace and any government procurement measures to benefit small and medium enterprises, which is similar to exclusion taken by a number of TPP parties.
Transitional Measures: Brunei has been permitted two types of transitional measures: higher thresholds and delayed implementation of several TPP obligations.
Thresholds: Brunei will apply higher temporary thresholds for procurement of goods and services for the first four years after it implements the TPP. Its initial thresholds will be 250,000 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) for its central government entities and 500,000 SDRs for its other entities. Beginning in the fifth year, Brunei will apply the same threshold (130,000 SDRs) for both categories of entities. That threshold will be the lowest applied by any party for other entities, except Japan, which applies the same threshold for most of the goods and services purchased by its other entities.
Delayed Implementation: For three years after the TPP enters into force, Brunei may delay implementation of three TPP provisions:
- It may omit from its notices of intended procurement a description of the procurement and an indication that the procurement is covered by the TPP. However, it must include a description of the procurement in its tender documentation.
- In place of publishing a notice of the award of a contract, it must provide information on its contract awards, upon request of suppliers of other TPP parties.
- Brunei is not required to publish a notice of intended procurement when it uses a multi-use list for the procurement of certain services. However, it is obligated to: (i) notify all suppliers on the relevant multi-use list of procurement opportunities; (ii) use that notification as the basis for establishing the final date for submission of requests for participation in the procurement; and (iii) provide an electronic link to multi-use lists on the Ministry of Finance website (www.mof.gov.bn).
In addition, Brunei will be given five years to establish an impartial domestic review authority. During the transition period, Brunei must allow suppliers of other TPP parties to take complaints about the conduct of a covered procurement to the procuring entity.
Jean Heilman Grier
December 15, 2015