Chapter Nine-- Government Procurement
Article 9.1: Scope and Coverage
1. This Chapter applies to any measure, including any act or guideline of a Party, regarding
2. For purposes of this Chapter, covered procurement means a procurement of goods,
services, or both:
(a) by any contractual means, including purchase, rental, or lease, with or without an
option to buy, build-operate-transfer contracts, and public works concession
(b) listed and subject to the conditions specified in:
(i) Annex 9.1.2(b)(i), which shall apply between the United States and each
(ii) Annex 9.1.2(b)(ii), which shall apply between the Central American
(iii) Annex 9.1.2(b)(iii), which shall apply between each Central American
Party and the Dominican Republic;
(c) that is conducted by a procuring entity; and
(d) that is not excluded from coverage.
3. This Chapter does not apply to:
(a) non-contractual agreements or any form of assistance that a Party or a state
enterprise provides, including grants, loans, equity infusions, fiscal incentives,
subsidies, guarantees, cooperative agreements, government provision of goods
and services to persons or to state, regional, or local governments, and purchases
for the direct purpose of providing foreign assistance;
(b) purchases funded by loans or grants made to a Party, including an entity of a
Party by a person, international entities, associations, or another Party or a non-
Party, to the extent that the conditions of such assistance are inconsistent with this
(c) acquisition of fiscal agency or depository services, liquidation, and management
services for regulated financial institutions, and sale and distribution services for
(d) hiring of government employees and related employment measures;
(e) any good or service component of any contract that is awarded by a procuring
entity that is not listed in Sections A through C of Annexes 9.1.2(b)(i),
9.1.2(b)(ii), and 9.1.2(b)(iii); and
(f) purchases made under exceptionally advantageous conditions that only arise in
the very short term, such as unusual disposals by companies that normally are not
suppliers, or disposals of assets of businesses in liquidation or receivership.
4. Each Party shall ensure that its procuring entities comply with this Chapter in conducting
any covered procurement.
5. Where a procuring entity awards a contract in a procurement that is not covered by this
Chapter, nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to cover any good or service component of
6. No procuring entity may prepare, design, or otherwise structure or divide any
procurement in order to avoid the obligations of this Chapter.
7. Nothing in this Chapter shall prevent a Party from developing new procurement policies,
procedures, or contractual means, provided they are not inconsistent with this Chapter.
Article 9.2: General Principles
1. With respect to any measure covered by this Chapter, each Party shall accord to the
goods and services of another Party, and to the suppliers of another Party of such goods and
services, treatment no less favorable than the most favorable treatment the Party or procuring
entity accords to its own goods, services, and suppliers.
2. With respect to any measure covered by this Chapter, no Party may:
(a) treat a locally established supplier less favorably than another locally established
supplier on the basis of degree of foreign affiliation or ownership; or
(b) discriminate against a locally established supplier on the basis that the goods or
services offered by that supplier for a particular procurement are goods or
services of another Party.
3. For purposes of paragraphs 1 and 2, determination of the origin of goods shall be made in
a manner consistent with Chapter Four (Rules of Origin and Origin Procedures).
4. With respect to covered procurement, a procuring entity shall not seek, take account of,
or impose offsets in any stage of a procurement.
5. Paragraphs 1 and 2 do not apply to measures respecting customs duties or other charges
of any kind imposed on or in connection with importation, the method of levying such duties or
charges, other import regulations, including restrictions and formalities, or measures affecting
trade in services other than measures specifically governing procurement covered by this
Article 9.3: Publication of Procurement Measures
Each Party shall promptly:
(a) publish any law or regulation, and any modification thereof, relating to
(b) make publicly available any procedure, judicial decision, or administrative ruling
of general application, relating to procurement; and
(c) on request of a Party, provide to that Party a copy of a procedure, judicial
decision, or administrative ruling of general application, relating to procurement.
Article 9.4: Publication of Notice of Intended Procurement
1. Subject to Article 9.9.2, a procuring entity shall publish in advance a notice inviting
interested suppliers to submit tenders for each covered procurement.
2. The information in each such notice shall include, at a minimum, an indication that the
procurement is covered by this Chapter, a description of the intended procurement, any
conditions that suppliers must fulfill to participate in the procurement, the name of the procuring
entity, the address where all documents relating to the procurement may be obtained, if
applicable, any sum payable for the tender documentation, the time limits and address for
submission of tenders, and the time for delivery of the goods or services being procured.
3. Each Party shall encourage its procuring entities to publish information regarding their
future procurement plans as early as possible in each Party’s fiscal year.
Article 9.5: Time Limits for the Tendering Process
1. A procuring entity shall provide suppliers sufficient time to prepare and submit
responsive tenders, taking into account the nature and complexity of the procurement. In no case
shall a procuring entity provide less than 40 days from the date of publication of a notice of
intended procurement to the final date for submission of tenders.
2. Notwithstanding paragraph 1, where there are no qualification requirements for suppliers,
a procuring entity may establish a period for tendering that is less than 40 days, but in no case
less than 10 days, in the following circumstances:
(a) where the procuring entity published a separate notice containing a description of
the procurement, the approximate time limits for the submission of tenders or,
where appropriate, conditions for participation in a procurement, and the address
from which documents relating to the procurement may be obtained, at least 40
days and not more than 12 months before the final date for the submission of
(b) where an entity procures commercial goods and services that are sold or offered
for sale to, and customarily purchased and used by, non-governmental buyers for
non-governmental purposes; or
(c) where an unforeseen state of urgency that is duly substantiated by the procuring
entity renders impracticable the time provided in paragraph 1.
Article 9.6: Tender Documentation
1. A procuring entity shall provide to interested suppliers tender documentation that
includes all information necessary to permit suppliers to prepare and submit responsive tenders.
The documentation shall include all criteria that the procuring entity will consider in awarding
the contract, including all cost factors, and the weights or, where appropriate, the relative values,
that the entity will assign to these criteria in evaluating tenders.
2. A procuring entity may satisfy paragraph 1 by publishing the documentation by
electronic means accessible to all interested suppliers. Where a procuring entity does not publish
tender documentation by electronic means accessible to all interested suppliers, the entity shall,
on request of any supplier, promptly make the documentation available in written form to the
3. Where a procuring entity, in the course of a procurement, modifies the criteria referred to
in paragraph 1,1 it shall transmit all such modifications in writing:
(a) to all suppliers that are participating in the procurement at the time the criteria are
modified, if the identities of such suppliers are known, and in cases where the
identities of suppliers participating are not known, in the same manner as the
original information was transmitted; and
(b) in adequate time to allow the suppliers to modify and re-submit their tenders, as
Each Central American Party and the Dominican Republic may make such modifications before tenders are
opened. The United States may make such modifications before awarding the contract.
Article 9.7: Technical Specifications
1. A procuring entity shall not prepare, adopt, or apply any technical specification with the
purpose or the effect of creating unnecessary obstacles to trade between the Parties.
2. A procuring entity shall prescribe any technical specifications, where appropriate:
(a) in terms of performance requirements rather than design or descriptive
(b) based on international standards, where applicable, otherwise on recognized
3. A procuring entity shall not prescribe technical specifications that require or refer to a
particular trademark or trade name, patent, design or type, specific origin or producer or supplier,
unless there is no other sufficiently precise or intelligible way of describing the procurement
requirements and provided that, in such cases, words such as “or equivalent” are included in the
4. A procuring entity shall not seek or accept, in a manner that would have the effect of
precluding competition, advice that may be used in the preparation or adoption of any technical
specification for a specific procurement from a person that may have a commercial interest in
5. For greater certainty, this Article is not intended to preclude a procuring entity from
preparing, adopting, or applying technical specifications to promote the conservation of natural
Article 9.8: Requirements and Conditions for Participating in Procurement
1. Where a procuring entity requires suppliers to satisfy registration, qualification, or any
other requirements or conditions for participation (“conditions for participation”) in order to
participate in a procurement, the procuring entity shall publish a notice inviting suppliers to
apply for registration or qualification, or to satisfy any other conditions for participation. The
procuring entity shall publish the notice sufficiently in advance to provide interested suppliers
sufficient time to prepare and submit applications and for the entity to evaluate and make its
determinations based on such applications.
2. Each procuring entity shall:
(a) limit any conditions for participation in a procurement to those that are essential
to ensure that the supplier has the legal, technical, and financial abilities to fulfill
the requirements and technical specifications of the procurement;
(b) recognize as qualified all suppliers of another Party that have met the requisite
conditions for participation; and
(c) base qualification determinations solely on the conditions for participation that
have been specified in advance in notices or tender documentation.
3. Procuring entities may establish publicly available lists of suppliers qualified to
participate in procurements. Where a procuring entity requires suppliers to qualify for such a list
as a condition for participation in a procurement, and a supplier that has not yet qualified applies
for inclusion in the list, the procuring entity shall promptly start the qualification procedures and
shall allow the supplier to submit a tender, if it is determined to be a qualifying supplier,
provided there is sufficient time to fulfill the conditions for participation within the time period
established for tendering.
4. No procuring entity may make it a condition for participation in a procurement that a
supplier has previously been awarded one or more contracts by a procuring entity or that the
supplier has prior work experience in the territory of a Party. A procuring entity shall evaluate
the financial and technical abilities of a supplier on the basis of that supplier’s business activity
outside the territory of the Party of the procuring entity, as well as activity, if any, in the territory
of the Party of the procuring entity.
5. A procuring entity shall promptly communicate to any supplier that has applied for
qualification its decision on whether that supplier is qualified. Where a procuring entity rejects
an application for qualification or ceases to recognize a supplier as qualified, that entity shall, on
request of the supplier, promptly provide a written explanation of the reasons for its action.
6. Nothing in this Article shall preclude a procuring entity from prohibiting a supplier from
participating in a procurement on grounds such as bankruptcy or false declarations.
Article 9.9: Tendering Procedures
1. Subject to paragraph 2, a procuring entity shall award contracts by means of open
2. Provided that the tendering procedure is not used to avoid competition or to protect
domestic suppliers, a procuring entity may award contracts by means other than an open
tendering procedure in the following circumstances:
(a) in the absence of tenders that conform to the essential requirements in the tender
documentation provided in a prior notice of intended procurement or invitation to
participate, including any conditions for participation, provided that the
requirements of the initial notice or invitation are not substantially modified;
(b) where, for works of art, or for reasons connected with the protection of exclusive
intellectual property rights, such as patents or copyrights, or proprietary
information, or where there is an absence of competition for technical reasons, the
goods or services can be supplied only by a particular supplier and no reasonable
alternative or substitute exists;
(c) for additional deliveries by the original supplier that are intended either as
replacement parts, extensions, or continuing services for existing equipment,
software, services, or installations, where a change of supplier would compel the
entity to procure goods or services not meeting requirements of interchangeability
with existing equipment, software, services, or installations;
(d) for goods purchased on a commodity market;
(e) where a procuring entity procures a prototype or a first good or service that is
developed at its request in the course of, and for, a particular contract for
research, experiment, study, or original development. When such contracts have
been fulfilled, subsequent procurements of goods or services shall be subject to
(f) where additional construction services that were not included in the initial
contract but that were within the objectives of the original tender documentation
have, due to unforeseeable circumstances, become necessary to complete the
construction services described therein. However, the total value of contracts
awarded for additional construction services may not exceed 50 percent of the
amount of the initial contract; or
(g) in so far as is strictly necessary where, for reasons of urgency brought about by
events unforeseeable by the procuring entity, the goods or services could not be
obtained in time by means of an open tendering procedure and the use of an open
tendering procedure would result in serious injury to the procuring entity, the
entity’s program responsibilities, or the Party.
3. A procuring entity shall maintain records or prepare written reports providing specific
justification for any contract awarded under paragraph 2, in a manner consistent with Article
Article 9.10: Awarding of Contracts
1. A procuring entity shall require that, in order to be considered for award, a tender must
be submitted in writing and must, at the time it is submitted, conform to the essential
requirements of the tender documentation that the procuring entity provided in advance to all
participating suppliers, and be from a supplier that has complied with any conditions for
participation that the procuring entity has communicated in advance to all participating suppliers.
2. Unless a procuring entity determines that it is not in the public interest to award a
contract, the procuring entity shall award the contract to a supplier that the procuring entity has
determined to be fully capable of undertaking the contract and whose tender is determined to be
the most advantageous in terms of the requirements and evaluation criteria set out in the tender
3. No procuring entity may cancel a procurement, or terminate or modify a contract it has
awarded, in order to avoid the obligations of this Chapter.
Article 9.11: Information on Contract Awards
1. A procuring entity shall promptly inform participating suppliers of decisions on contract
awards. A procuring entity shall, on request, provide a supplier whose tender was not selected
for award the reasons for not selecting its tender and the relative advantages of the tender
2. Promptly after awarding a contract in a covered procurement, a procuring entity shall
publish a notice that includes at least the following information about the contract award:
(a) the name of the entity;
(b) a description of the goods or services included in the contract;
(c) the name of the supplier awarded the contract;
(d) the value of the contract award; and
(e) where the entity did not use an open tendering procedure, an indication of the
circumstances justifying the procedure used.
3. A procuring entity shall maintain records and reports relating to tendering procedures and
contract awards in procurements covered by this Chapter, including the records and reports
provided for in Article 9.9.3, for at least three years after the date a contract is awarded.
Article 9.12: Non-Disclosure of Information
1. A Party, its procuring entities, and its review authorities shall not disclose confidential
information the disclosure of which would prejudice legitimate commercial interests of a
particular person or might prejudice fair competition between suppliers, without the formal
authorization of the person that provided the information to the Party.
2. Nothing in this Chapter shall prevent a Party or its procuring entities from withholding
the release of information where release might:
(a) impede law enforcement;
(b) prejudice fair competition between suppliers;
(c) prejudice the legitimate commercial interests of particular suppliers or entities,
including the protection of intellectual property; or
(d) otherwise be contrary to the public interest.
Article 9.13: Ensuring Integrity in Procurement Practices
Further to Article 18.8 (Anti-Corruption Measures), each Party shall adopt or maintain
procedures to declare ineligible for participation in the Party’s procurements, either indefinitely
or for a specified time, suppliers that the Party has determined to have engaged in fraudulent or
other illegal actions in relation to procurement. On request of another Party, a Party shall
identify the suppliers determined to be ineligible under these procedures, and, where appropriate,
exchange information regarding those suppliers or the fraudulent or illegal action.
Article 9.14: Exceptions
1. Provided that such measures are not applied in a manner that would constitute a means of
arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination between Parties where the same conditions prevail or a
disguised restriction on trade between the Parties, nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to
prevent a Party from adopting or maintaining measures:
(a) necessary to protect public morals, order, or safety;
(b) necessary to protect human, animal, or plant life or health;
(c) necessary to protect intellectual property; or
(d) relating to goods or services of handicapped persons, of philanthropic institutions,
or of prison labor.
2. The Parties understand that paragraph 1(b) includes environmental measures necessary to
protect human, animal, or plant life or health.
Article 9.15: Domestic Review of Supplier Challenges
1. Each Party shall establish or designate at least one impartial administrative or judicial
authority, which shall be independent from its procuring entities, to receive and review
challenges that suppliers submit relating to the obligations of the Party and its entities under this
Chapter and to make appropriate findings and recommendations. In the event that a body other
than such an impartial authority initially reviews a supplier’s challenge, the Party shall ensure
that the supplier may appeal the initial decision to an impartial administrative or judicial
authority that is independent from the procuring entity that is the subject of the challenge.
2. Each Party shall provide that an authority established or designated under paragraph 1
may take prompt interim measures, pending the resolution of a challenge, to preserve the
opportunity to correct potential breaches of this Chapter, including the suspension of the award
of a contract or the performance of a contract already awarded.
3. Each Party shall ensure that its review procedures are publicly available in writing, and
are timely, transparent, effective, and consistent with the principle of due process.
4. Each Party shall ensure that all documents related to a challenge to a procurement are
available to any impartial authority established or designated under paragraph 1.
5. A procuring entity shall respond in writing to a supplier’s complaint.
6. Each Party shall ensure that an impartial authority it establishes or designates under
paragraph 1 provides to suppliers the following:
(a) a sufficient period to prepare and submit written challenges, which in no case
shall be less than 10 days from the time when the basis of the complaint became
known or reasonably should have become known to the supplier;
(b) an opportunity to review relevant documents and to be heard by the authority in a
(c) an opportunity to reply to the procuring entity’s response to the supplier’s
(d) prompt delivery in writing of its findings and recommendations relating to the
challenge, with an explanation of the grounds for each decision.
7. Each Party shall ensure that a supplier’s submission of a challenge does not prejudice the
supplier’s participation in ongoing or future procurements.
Article 9.16: Modifications and Rectifications to Coverage
1. A Party may make technical rectifications of a purely formal nature to its coverage under
this Chapter, or minor amendments to its Schedules to Sections A through C of Annexes
9.1.2(b)(i), 9.1.2(b)(ii), and 9.1.2(b)(iii),provided that it notifies the other Parties in writing and
no other Party objects in writing within 30 days after the notification. A Party that makes such a
rectification or minor amendment shall not be required to provide compensatory adjustments to
the other Parties.
2. A Party may modify its coverage under this Chapter provided that it:
(a) notifies the other Parties in writing and no other Party objects in writing within 30
days after the notification; and
(b) except as provided in paragraph 3, offers within 30 days after notifying the other
Parties acceptable compensatory adjustments to the other Parties to maintain a
level of coverage comparable to that existing before the modification.
3. A Party need not provide compensatory adjustments in those circumstances where the
proposed modification covers one or more procuring entities on which the Parties agree that
government control or influence has been effectively eliminated. Where the Parties do not agree
that such government control or influence has been effectively eliminated, the objecting Party or
Parties may request further information or consultations with a view to clarifying the nature of
any government control or influence and reaching agreement on the procuring entity’s continued
coverage under this Chapter.
4. The Commission shall modify the relevant section of Annexes 9.1.2(b)(i), 9.1.2(b)(ii),
and 9.1.2(b)(iii) to reflect any agreed modification, technical rectification, or minor amendment.
Article 9.17: Definitions
For purposes of this Chapter:
build-operate-transfer contract and public works concession contract mean any contractual
arrangements, the primary purpose of which is to provide for the construction or rehabilitation of
physical infrastructure, plants, buildings, facilities, or other government-owned works and under
which, as consideration for a supplier’s execution of a contract, a procuring entity grants to the
supplier, for a specified period, temporary ownership, if the Party permits such ownership, or a
right to control and operate, and demand payment for the use of, such works for the duration of
in writing or written means any worded or numbered expression that can be read, reproduced,
and later communicated, and includes electronically transmitted and stored information;
offsets means conditions or undertakings imposed or considered by a procuring entity that
encourage local development or improve a Party’s balance of payments accounts by means of
requirements of local content, licensing of technology, investment, counter-trade, or similar
open tendering procedure means any type of procurement method of a Party, except direct
purchasing methods as specified in Article 9.9.2, provided these methods are consistent with this
procuring entity means an entity listed in Annexes 9.1.2(b)(i), 9.1.2(b)(ii), and 9.1.2(b)(iii);
publish means to disseminate information in an electronic or paper medium that is distributed
widely and is readily accessible to the general public;
services includes construction services, unless otherwise specified;
supplier means a person that has provided, provides, or could provide goods or services to a
procuring entity; and
technical specification means a specification that sets out the characteristics of goods to be
procured or their related processes and production methods, or the characteristics of services to
be procured or their related operating methods, including the applicable administrative
provisions, and requirements relating to conformity assessment procedures that an entity
prescribes. A technical specification may also include or deal exclusively with terminology,
symbols, packaging, or marking or labeling requirements, as they apply to a good, process,
service, or production or operating method.