On March 5, lawyer, Aurelio Gil García, filed a claim against the public tender of $ 35 million for the acquisition of a vehicle fleet, as reported by local press. The public offer to be held this March 13 was suspended. The main reason is that companies that had the interest to participate were required to have a minimum of 10 years of operations in Panama in accordance with the conditions of the General Directorate of Public Procurement. An important group of Chinese companies are limited to compete in 2017-1-27-0-99-LM-001755 tender. After Varela´s trip to China, and the establishment of diplomatic relationships with the chinese government, and the announcement of a possible TLC, the auto industry companies from the Asian country are having their first problem with the Panamanian government to sell their products.
According to the claim presented by Gil García before the General Directorate of Public Procurement, “It limits the competition of the international market that has not commercialized vehicles at a national level and less for the amount of time required in this requirement, which can only be met by the national and perhaps a couple of foreign brands,” if you keep reading the legal document, it states: “Including that the brand of the sponsor has been marketed for 10 years is an illegal and restrictive rule of competition and the Directorate of Public Procurement has opposed itself to this type of rules in other occasions we are surprised that they want to apply it now”.
The tender was announced on August 31, 2017 and was published with this requirement. After the request of interested companies in participating, it was modified and then included again. “It really draws our attention that as a product of notes and writings presented by the interested parties this rule was questioned has been corrected according to Addendum 5 and, surprisingly, in Addendum 6 returns to the initial rule, which is neither understood nor comprehended”.
The Director of Public Procurement, Eduardo Corro, confirmed that the tender has been suspended after two appeals filed in the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ). Corro says, according to the media, that there is no discrimination, “we are refering to a competitive act, in which 29 agencies participated, of which 25 qualify.”