Mapa de Europa en azul y mapa de Singapur en rojo. Claves para la Contratación Pública en Singapur.

The Free Trade Agreement signed between the European Union and Singapore, in effect since November 21, 2019, is a comprehensive treaty due to the subjects it covers and meticulous in the strictness with which it regulates them. Despite this complexity and meticulousness, the importance of its celebration is undeniable, as well as the effects it is expected to have on the relations between both contracting parties. One of the subjects of undeniable interest for Spanish companies is public procurement in Singapore, both due to its regulatory framework and the opportunities it offers in the Singapore market. An approach to both issues, regulation, and opportunities, is the purpose of this article.

Understanding the Regulatory Framework

Throughout the various paragraphs that make up Article 9 of the Treaty, starting with a basic definition of the three main types of tenders – open, restricted, and selective – it describes its scope – public procurement in Singapore for governmental purposes, for goods and services through any contractual means – and the general principles that underpin the entire process – equal treatment to providers from each party in a framework of full transparency and impartiality. This starting point, if not identical, is similar to the content in the Agreement on Government Procurement of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which the European Union and Singapore, as parties to this Agreement, commit to respect and, as far as possible, improve to justify the Treaty.

Guidelines for Participation in the Public Procurement in Singapore

The conditions for participating in public procurement in Singapore – legal, commercial, technical, and financial capacity -, the qualification of providers – through a registration system or a multiple-use list – and technical specifications, tender documents, and deadlines – based on international standards or national regulations as appropriate – are detailed extensively, as well as the processing of offers and contract awarding, all topped off with reference to internal recourse procedures so that a provider can appeal against any infringement that may occur in a procurement process in which the provider has or had an interest.

Seizing Opportunities in Singapore

That being said, what are the opportunities that Singapore presents for a Spanish company in this field in this context? The opportunities presented by Singapore, according to the latest data available to us, are broad and varied, whether it’s construction services (58%), general services (31%), or goods (11%). In any case, to stay informed, it is advisable to access the business one-stop portal at https://www.gebiz.gov.sg/, and even register as a commercial partner to ensure unlimited information on these opportunities, download documents to participate in announced tenders, and also obtain reports or news on awards.

Furthermore, when required by announced tenders, another step is to register as a government supplier of goods and services with the Ministry of Finance, through its delegated company CrimsonLogic. For goods and services related to construction and building, registration can be done through the Building & Construction Authority (BCA) portal. These portals also provide a guide for easier registration: https://www.gebiz.gov.sg/singapore-government-procurement-regime.html for the Ministry; and https://www1.bca.gov.sg/docs/default-source/docs-corp-procurement/registration_terms.pdf for the BCA.

Key Points for Competitive Bidding

Lastly, regarding key points for a competitive bid, three are undoubtedly essential: firstly, detailed reading of the announcement and tender documents; secondly, providing a correct description of goods and services to be supplied along with required criteria in the bid; and thirdly, ensuring proper accreditation of corresponding qualifications. Alongside these, two other strategic points are crucial: avoiding last-minute bids and not overemphasizing price-quality ratio excessively since credibility is essential. If needed, there is a specific tribunal to address any unjustified award decisions.

For further assistance and guidance on public procurement in Singapore, companies can refer to specific government portals and seek legal advice from professionals like Antonio Viñal at AVCO Legal.

Antonio Viñal
Lawyer
AVCO Legal
madrid@avco.legal