ECCO�s Symposium On Civil &
Defense Offset, International Law
ECCO, the European Club
for Countertrade and Offset, organised a symposium in Paris, France,
where members and guests of ECCO discussed offset and aspects
related to international law with a group of experts.
Prof. Viviane de Beaufort,
a European Union law expert and co-director of the European Centre
for Law and Economics (C.E.D.E.) in Paris, delved deeper into issues
influencing Europe�s competitiveness. Her presentation entitled
�Opening Up Of International Government Procurement,� offered a
balanced look at the current offset arena and asked the question how
reciprocity can be guaranteed.
Mr. Francois Riegiert from
the World Trade Organisation (WTO) presented the basic principles of
the WTO, focusing on non-military (civil) offset.
Here is a brief look at
legislation related to civil offset:
� Countertrade is banned as a quantitative restriction (Article XI,
The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, GATT 1947).
� Exceptions are included in Article XII: Restrictions to Safeguard
the Balance of Payments.
� Article XVIII: Governmental Assistance to Economic Development
deal mostly with imports and exports.
These agreements were
signed by Canada, European Union, Hong Kong China, Iceland, Israel,
Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands (Aruba), Norway,
Singapore, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei and the USA.
The cornerstone principles
of the GPA (Government Procurement Agreements) are
non-discrimination and transparency.
The GPA explicitly
prohibits the use of offset as measures to encourage local
development, or improve the balance-of-payments accounts by means of
domestic content, licensing of technology, investment requirements,
countertrade, or similar requirements.
Article V of the GPA states that developing countries may negotiate,
at the time of their accession, conditions for the use of offsets
provided these are used only for the qualification to participate in
the procurement process and not as criteria for awarding contracts.
Article XVI of the GPA
states that a developing country may at the time of accession
negotiate conditions for the use of offsets, such as requirements
for the incorporation of domestic content. Such requirements shall
be used only for qualification to participate in the procurement
process and not as criteria for awarding contracts.
Conditions shall be
objective, clearly defined and non-discriminatory and may include
precise limitations on the imposition of offsets in any contract
subject to the GPA. The existence of such conditions shall be
notified to the Committee and included in the notice of intended
procurement and other documentation.
Mr. Marc Poulain, policy
officer at the European Commission: Director General Trade,
Government, Procurement and IPR Unit, talked about the treatment of
offset under the international commitments undertaken by the EU on
government procurement, including the GPA and bilateral free trade
�Treatment Of Foreign Bidders / Goods In Government Procurement
Legislation: A Comparison Between The EU And The US Regime� resulted
in interesting discussions.
Vierlich-Juercke, legal officer at the European Commission: Director
General Internal Market, focused on defense government procurement
in Europe and the new Directive 2009/81/EC.
The Directive has been adopted in view
of developing a true European Defense Equipment Market (EDEM) and
the European Defense Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB). The
plan is to implement the Directive on 21 August 2011.
On 6 and 7 September, ECCO
will be hosting a symposium focusing on offset in the UAE (United
Arab Emirates), and taking the EU debate further. The event will be
The following symposium
will be 14 to 15 December 2011 in either Paris or Brussels.
For more information or to
become a member of ECCO