Secrets of Contracting in 2023: How Legal Experts Manage Data and Compliance

Overseas subsidies regulation: impression on tenders for infrastructure initiatives

Overseas subsidy

EU firms are topic to the present EU state help regime, whereas non-EU firms are usually not. In preparation since 2020, Regulation 2022/2560 of the European Parliament and of the Council on international subsidies distorting the inner market (FSR) was adopted to make sure a stage taking part in discipline between EU and non-EU firms by giving the European Fee the facility to research and proper international subsidies that might distort the inner market. The FSR has a specific give attention to massive public procurement procedures and M&A transactions. The FSR enhances the Worldwide Procurement Instrument (IPI), which goals to enhance entry for EU bidders to public procurement markets outdoors the EU.

The FSR defines a international grant as a monetary contribution from a 3rd nation, which advantages an organization throughout the EU inside market, and which is particularly granted to a number of firms or industries. What constitutes a monetary contribution just isn’t outlined exhaustively however contains a minimum of:

  • The switch of funds or liabilities, reminiscent of fairness injections, grants, loans, mortgage ensures, tax incentives, offsetting working losses, offsetting government-imposed borrowing costs, debt reduction, debt-to-equity swaps, or rescheduling
  • Tax exemptions and granting of particular and unique rights with out ample remuneration,
  • The provision or buy of products and providers.

A international subsidy is taken into account to distort the inner market if it could enhance the aggressive place of the beneficiary and probably have an effect on competitors negatively. In public procurement, international subsidies are distortive if they permit a bidder to make an “unduly advantageous provide”.

The European Fee (“the Fee”) can perform a “balancing take a look at” to weigh the constructive results of the subsidy towards its distortive impression. The constructive results primarily concern the event of the associated backed financial exercise within the inside market.

Notification obligations

A participant in a public procurement process launched after 12 July 2023 should notify its international monetary contributions to the contracting authority with its tender (or request to take part) when:

  • Is procuring a works, provide or service contract or concession with an estimated worth of a minimum of EUR 250 million, and
  • It has obtained international monetary contributions of a minimum of EUR 4 million per third nation within the earlier three years.

Whereas the €250 million threshold appears excessive, it would have an effect on many massive public infrastructure initiatives within the EU.

The notification should checklist the combination international monetary contributions obtained within the earlier three years from:

  • the tenderer or candidate himself, i.e. every member of a consortium
  • subsidiaries with out industrial autonomy
  • holding firm
  • primary subcontractors and suppliers concerned within the tender (the place relevant).

Even when international monetary contributions are beneath the brink of EUR 4 million, bidders should checklist their international monetary contributions in a declaration.

The Fee will assess the presence of distortive international subsidies. Pending its analysis, the contract can’t be awarded to the beneficiary of the subsidies (“standstill”). If distortive international subsidies are recognized, the Fee will both permit the award topic to the implementation of remedial measures proposed by the tenderer or candidate involved or prohibit the award of the contract to this tenderer. Defaulting firms can face fines or periodic funds of as much as 10% of the earlier yr’s combination turnover.

As regards M&A operations, a notification to the European Fee is required if the goal firm, one of many merging events or the joint ventures has an intra-EU turnover of a minimum of €500 million and includes subsidies of a minimum of 50 million euros.

The European Fee can provoke investigations into different “market conditions” and do advert hoc notification requests in authorities procurement procedures and sub-threshold M&A operations if it suspects the presence of distortive international subsidies.

Extra paperwork for bidders

Bidders affected by the FSR are prone to face a big administrative burden and will put together accordingly earlier than the regulation turns into relevant. Firms should internally accumulate info on the international monetary contributions they’ve obtained within the final three years. As well as, they may want instruments to observe information on international contributions on a world scale. Reportable international monetary contributions cowl the earlier three years, which may end in important retroactive levying for early bidders confronted with the notification requirement.

The issue, particularly for international firms, is that a variety of advantages are captured below the notion of a “monetary contribution” (e.g. mortgage ensures or tax incentives). It’s subsequently troublesome to not see the FSR as an extra bureaucratic burden for collaborating in high-value procurement procedures within the EU.

Unduly advantageous affords and abnormally low affords

These acquainted with the EU public procurement directives might know that these guidelines already embody mechanisms that permit contracting authorities to establish abnormally priced affords and exclude them from the tender course of. The interplay of those guidelines with the brand new provisions of the FSR can result in inconsistencies.

Underneath the FSR, the final take a look at is to evaluate whether or not the international subsidies obtained by a agency enhance its aggressive place within the inside market and thus (probably) distort competitors within the inside market. Within the context of a public procurement process, the take a look at carried out by the Fee additionally includes assessing whether or not international subsidies permit an organization or enterprise to use unduly advantageous providereminiscent of how it’s mirrored in its value.

Underneath the EU public procurement directives, contracting authorities have already got an obligation to examine whether or not tenderers’ costs are abnormally low. If a value seems abnormally low, being in receipt of state help from an EU Member State is without doubt one of the related information {that a} bidder can invoke to justify a cheaper price. Contracting authorities are usually not prevented from additionally contemplating international subsidies on this context.

With the introduction of the FSR, contracting authorities at the moment are prevented from launching an investigation into abnormally low costs primarily based solely on the suspected presence of international subsidies. It isn’t but clear how the FSR will have an effect on contracting authorities’ value checks. It is usually unclear how the Fee will assess whether or not international subsidies may have a helpful impact on the procurement primarily based on the notified international monetary contributions, and never on the procurement itself (assessed by the contracting authorities).


The Overseas Subsidies Directive marks a serious foray of EU competitors guidelines into public procurement with out altering the EU public procurement directives. The brand new requirement to inform or declare international monetary contributions in tenders value greater than €250 million is prone to require substantial efforts by firms bidding for big infrastructure initiatives.

Author: ZeroToHero

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