Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

5-2012

Keywords

public procurement, China, reform

Abstract

For over ten years now, supervision and implementation of public purchasing activities in China has largely been divided among government agencies that jealously guard their share of their regulatory pie and covet the regulatory province of other agencies. Yet vested interests are now on the defensive, as a reform process seeks to collapse the segregated regulatory regimes into a more centralized governance structure. The idea is to combine construction tendering and bidding, government procurement, public land-use auctions and public asset exchanges under one management structure called the “Public Resources Exchange Center.” Hence, some refer to the reforms as the “four into one platform.”

This reform challenge seeks to reorder China’s public procurement regulatory system, and the reforms have already gained traction in local government experiments. More recently, pushed nationally by anti-corruption departments, the reforms are gaining some attention at China’s central government level. This article offers a description and analysis of the current governance structure for most Chinese public procurement and the reforms underway, identifying some issues implicated by with the reforms. Despite the promise of reform, unification of Chinese public purchasing management remains distant. As demonstrated in this article, China continues to embrace a dispersed, fluid and arguably experimental framework for public procurement governance. The burdens of such uncertainty and administrative flexibility continue to fall on market participants.

Disciplines

Government Contracts | International Law