May 17, 2020

EC proposes public procurement changes

Supply Chain Digital
European procurement
eProcurement Ele
Freddie Pierce
2 min
Adding electronic bidding methods and less paperwork are part of the European Commission’s proposed procurement changes
European public sector procurement continues its major overhaul. The European Commission has proposed new rules within the procurement industry in the...

European public sector procurement continues its major overhaul.

The European Commission has proposed new rules within the procurement industry in the public realm, and is hoping that new concessions to corporations will help get the measures past.

“This reform is necessary, ambitious and realistic,” said the commissioner of the dossier, Michel Barnier.

Among the most notable points in the new proposal are more simple procedures for signing public contracts, and a reduction in the amount of paperwork required to win such contracts. The intense documentation of public sector contracts was seen by many as a deterrent to small and medium-sized enterprises working with the government.

Adding to the aid smaller businesses are expected to receive under the new provisions are the increased use of eProcurement practices, which could help the tendering process as a whole. A larger number of businesses are expected to compete for contracts because of the proposed electronic and cloud-based documentation requirements, which could drive down prices for the government and save taxpayer money.

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There are a number of those not happy with the proposition, however. Some large companies see the reform as taking public sector procurement in an unnecessary direction, as adding bidders to contracts could complicate the entire tendering process.

Given Europe’s dire financial situation, however, any measure that adds simplification (and hopefully, cost reductions) is a path worth investigating.

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Jun 16, 2021

EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs

supplychain
Boeing
Airbus
tariffs
3 min
Supply chains embroiled in Airbus-Boeing dispute will no longer be impacted by $11.5bn tariffs imposed on food and beverage, aircraft and tobacco

The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years. 

It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC. 

The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn. 

In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products. 

Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers  

  • The dispute began in 2004
  • Tariffs suspended for 5 years 
  • $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
  • $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date 
  • 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended

Both sides welcome end to tariffs 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.

“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.

Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”. 

The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."

This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.

Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”

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