This book explains how government procurement became part of the international trading regime.
At the core of the system are pledges by governments to allow each other's suppliers to sell to them on an equal footing with their domestic firms. These agreements show how the participants overcame domestic pressures to reserve contracts for their local suppliers.
They demonstrate how governments dealt with the competing forces of protectionism and liberalization.
The International Procurement System takes the reader on a journey from the development of plurilateral agreements in the World Trade Organization, through bilateral agreements involving the United States, the European Union, and Japan. It looks at what they gained and what they gave up in incorporating procurement into the global trading system.
At the center of this story is the United States, an early and strong champion of opening procurement to foreign participation. Yet it has been challenged by pressures to comply with a myriad of domestic laws mandating favoritism for US products.
Beginning with the 'America First' policies of the Trump administration and accelerating under President Biden, the US has been pivoting away from its support of liberalization. With waning US leadership, the European Union and other trading parties are demonstrating the benefits of continued expansion of access to procurement, which represents 10 to 15% of a typical country's Gross Domestic Product.
After detailing the 40-year development of government procurement's role in global trade, Jean Heilman Grier addresses the challenges and tensions of the international system. China remains outside the system despite its vast procurement market. The US protectionist turn is prompting similar responses by other countries. The EU is adopting trade defense measures to protect its own interests. The International Procurement System concludes that the primary procurement agreement may be destined to remain a club of mostly developed countries.