On 6 July 2017, IEL Director Professor Martin Trybus presented a paper "Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) and public procurement regulation: the division of public contracts into lots" at the 50th Anniversary Congress of the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)at the United Nations headquarters in Vienna. Trybus contributed to a panel on the reform of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Procurement.
Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) are at the heart of the economy of any country. Moreover, they create significantly more employment than larger companies, train more people, and provide economic stability even during an economic crisis, SMEs are therefore also essential for a sustainable economy. However, their share of public contracts is often deemed insufficient. Legislative techniques directed at increasing the participation of SMEs in public procurement include the division of contracts into lots, the reduction of ‘red tape’, the limitation of participation requirements, direct payments to subcontractors, and reserved contracts. Martin's paper addressed the question of the effectiveness of one of the most frequently used techniques: the division of larger contracts into smaller lots. The methodology will drew on an analysis of various national and international legal instruments, economic theory, and statistical data to ascertain if and precisely how a regime on the division of contracts into lots should be devised in international trade law, including most importantly the UNCITRAL Model Law on Procurement.
The UNCITRAL 50th Anniversary Congress "Modernizing International Trade Law to support Innovation and Sustainable Development" was not limited to procurement reform but covered the entirely of UNCITRAL activities during this three-day event.