Explainer: Think Global, Spend Local: Public Deals Shielded Amid Pandemic



Philip Blenkinsop | Reuters

Governments and local authorities around the world have for decades put domestic companies first in the massive public procurement decisions they make with taxpayer money.

But as they look to spend trillions on post-pandemic recoveries – and as western suspicion of China grows – many are taking an even more protectionist stance to ensure the funds are spent locally to create or protect jobs.

Here are the main developments and some of the implications.


The World Trade Organization’s 164 members commit to provide trade on the same terms with other partners and treat imported and locally produced goods equally, but are largely left to their own devices on public procurement.

Although some legal challenges have questioned the role of state-owned firms, this means national, regional and local authorities can effectively set their own terms.

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