Regulations on UKVFTA bidding documents issued

The Ministry of Planning and Investment has just issued two circulars specifying instructions for handling bidding packages under the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA).

Circular No. 12/2022/TT-BKHDT elaborates the preparation of bidding documents for procurement of goods under the UKVFTA, while Circular No. 15/2022/TT-BKHDT details instructions for construction and installation bidding.

These new regulations, which will come into force on August 25, 2022, also apply to bidding packages under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

The two circulars implement Decree No. 90/2022/NĐ-CP, which integrates guidelines on procurement procedures under the three big free trade pacts that Vietnam has participated including CPTPP, EVFTA and UKVFTA. It aims to ensure the effective implementation of international commitments by Vietnam.

The "3-in-1" integration also facilitates domestic contractors and contractors from the EU and the UK to learn regulations easily, ensuring competitive and transparent bidding.

The new rules apply to bids of single-stage single-envelop and single-stage two-envelops methods.

According to the regulations, based on the scale and nature of each specific bidding package, the bid solicitor shall make appropriate requirements based on ensuring the principles of competition, fairness, transparency and economic efficiency.

The bid solicitor must not provide conditions to limit the participation of contractors or to create advantages for one or several contractors, causing unfair competition, such as stating the specific brand and origin of goods, including the naming of countries, groups of countries and territories, except for the case of intra-regional bidding; or setting up the requirement that a contractor has entered into one or more contracts with a procuring agency of a particular country or that a contractor has experience in providing goods and services in that territory as the criterion for disqualifying contractors.

The circulars stipulate that in case of amending the provisions stated in the form of the bidding documents, organisations and individuals that make, appraise and approve the bidding documents must ensure such correction is stricter than those noted in the bidding document form and not contrary to the provisions of the CPTPP, the EVFTA and the UKVFTA.

Regarding the bids that have been opened before the effective date of the circulars (August 25, 2022), the bid evaluation and consideration for contract award shall be done in accordance with the bidding documents and not in contravention of the agreements.

If the bidding documents have been approved before August 25, 2022, but have not been issued, these bidding documents must be adjusted to conform to forms issued together with the new circulars.

Any information inappropriate or in infringement of the bidding document form issued together with the two circulars must be modified. In that case, the investor and procuring entity must give the bidders reasonable time to prepare their bids.