Policy space vs. policy lock-in: public procurement in the Cariforum EPA

Dawar, Kamala (2008) Policy space vs. policy lock-in: public procurement in the Cariforum EPA. Trade Negotiation Insights, 7 (7). ISSN 1682-6744

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Abstract

The CARIFORUM EPA initialled in December 2007 regulates several behind-the-border areas, including public procurement. The provisions of the agreement recognise that transparent competitive tendering is important for economic development and the special economic situation of the CARIFORUM countries. While these special circumstances are not defined, the text points to the CARIFORUM members' entitlement to Special and Differential Treatment (S&D).

These dual objectives present particular reform challenges for government purchasing because it is a fertile environment for vested political, industrial and bureaucratic interests; all essential - but instinctively hostile - to reform. Thus, reform of public purchasing, either internally or externally, is difficult. Yet, state activities in developing countries tend to cover sectors as wide as education, commerce, health, infrastructure and defence. The price and quality of state purchases significantly effect economic development and social welfare.

This assessment of the public procurement provisions in the CARIFORUM EPA is therefore based on the conviction that preferential procurement policies are only justifiable if: (i) they effectively meet explicit and sustainable development policies; (ii) the benefits of the preferential policy outweigh its costs; (iii) there is no reasonably available alternative measure with lower social costs; and (iv) that the preferential policy is implemented no longer than necessary to attain the development goals. As such, this analysis is more concerned with the need to create ‘policy lock-in' rather than ‘policy space'.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
K Law
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Kamala Dawar
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2016 07:59
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2017 02:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/60147

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