In this section nine frequently asked questions about the Taiwan GPA are answered, including timeline until implementation date, covered procurements, tender thresholds and requirements for language, currency, licensing, and certification.
Q1: What is the status of Taiwan’s accession to the GPA?
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Government Procurement Committee adopted Taiwan’s accession to the GPA on December 9, 2008. After a joint-review meeting the accession bill was accepted on April 1, 2009 by the Foreign and National Defense Committee, the Economics Committee, and the Transportation Committee. The accession bill was adopted by the Legislative Yuan on May 15, 2009 and ratified by the President on June 8, 2009. Taiwan is scheduled to accede to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) on July 15, 2009.
Q2: Procuring entities are covered by the GPA? What are the thresholds of market access of the procurement?
Taiwan estimates roughly 2,170 procurement cases will be covered by the WTO/GPA with a value of approximately USD $6 billion per year, on average. Based on historical data, the Taiwan GPA market has been very open to foreign suppliers in the past.
The major contents of the offer submitted to the WTO are as follows (individual procuring threshold of market access is based on the offer of other GPA members):
U.S. firms will now compete on equal terms with domestic firms when government tenders for covered entities under the Agreement meet or exceed the following threshold values:
Federal government contracts valued at over $194,000 for goods and services and approximately $7.45 million construction services.
State-level government contracts valued at over $296,000 for goods and services and approximately $22.2 million for the construction services during the first year after the Agreement goes into effect. The construction services threshold will drop to $7.45 million after the third year the Agreement goes into effect and where it will remain.
Government-controlled entities such as utilities and universities/colleges with contracts for goods and services valued at $593,000 and construction services valued at $22.2 million for the first year. The construction services threshold will drop to $7.45 million after the third year the Agreement goes into effect and where it will remain.
Q3: Where will the tender notices be published for individual procurements? Will the procurement entities provide tender notices in English? Will the tender notice specify that it is applicable to the GPA?
All tender notices for government procurement tenders will be published on the Public Construction Commission (PCC) Government Procurement Information System website: http://web.pcc.gov.tw/.
The tenders covered by the GPA will include a summary of the tender notice in English, including the procurement entity name and address, subject of tender, deadline for submission of tender, and the place for collecting the pertinent tender documentation.
The procurement cases covered by the GPA will be noted in tender notices.
Q4: Do the procurement entities provide tender documentation in another language? Can suppliers submit tenders in a foreign language?
The procurement entities have the option to provide tender documentation in traditional Chinese. The procurement entity may decide whether tender documentation will be provided in English and whether it accepts tender documentation in English.
Q5: Can a supplier submit its bid in foreign currency?
The procurement entities may prescribe in the tender documentation that suppliers can only submit bids in New Taiwan (NT) dollars, and that payment be made by a unified invoice issued by local Taiwan business agents of foreign suppliers. The procurement entity may describe in the tender documentation whether the individual tender will allow suppliers to submit bids in foreign currency.
Q6: How does Taiwan identify the origin of goods and the nationality of foreign suppliers?
The origin of goods is stipulated by “Regulations Governing the Determination of Origin of an Import Good.” For example, even though the processing or production of the goods does not make a change in the 6 digit customs tariff code , any substantive transformation or value-added change of more than 35% of the ultimate country or region shall be determined as the origin of goods.
The origin of services shall be verified by nationality or registration place of the actual service provider. If the actual service provider belongs to natural person, it is verified by his/her nationality; otherwise, it is verified by registration place.
The origin of construction: the construction which includes the supply of goods or services, the aforementioned verification rules shall apply mutatis mutandis.
Q7: Is there any stipulation to" Buy National" in the "Special Statute for Economic Stimulus Plan"? (i.e. In terms of the “Buy American Act “ (Act)provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009, the U.S. Congress made clear that the Act will be administered "in a manner consistent with United States' obligations under international agreements". The U.S. needs to comply with the GPA rules as the signatory of the GPA, for those procurements covered by to the GPA. The “Buy American Act” is not applicable)
For procurement tenders covered by the GPA, the “Buy National” statute will not apply, except otherwise stated by the GPA.
Q8: Once becoming a party to the GPA, will procuring entities adopt Industry Corporation Programs (ICPs) measures?
Taiwan will adopt ICPs measures covered by the GPA for procurements, including few transitional measures regarding transport. For example, in HS code 8601 for rail locomotives, up to 50 percent of the procurement amount can be used for offset purposes before December 31, 20 11.
Q9: May foreign architects or professional engineers provide professional services in Taiwan? If a foreign construction company plans to bid in Taiwan, is it necessary to possess a Taiwan construction certificate and local business membership certificate?
If the foreign professional services supplier, such as architects, professional engineers or lawyers, offer professional services in Taiwan, he/she shall possess Taiwan’s related license, or be qualified through mutual recognition between Taiwan and other countries. It is not fully open without certain licensing restrictions. For foreign suppliers, construction certification and a business member certificate is required before bidding or performing contracts.