Access to International Public Sector Markets

Information Note on Access to International Public Sector Markets

In addition to the business opportunities that are advertised on the Irish Government's public procurement website information on a wide range of international public-sector business opportunities is now available on the internet.  Irish enterprises are entitled to compete for many of these opportunities by virtue of Ireland's membership of the European Union, the European Economic Area and the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) (Please see separate note on the Government Procurement Agreement).  

There are also procurement opportunities with international organisations such as EU bodies, United Nations, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.  

With 10 to 15% of GDP in developed countries and up to 20% in developing countries, public sector procurement accounts for a substantial part of the global economy, and can provide significant opportunities for Irish exporters across many sectors. For example, the public sector of the European Union 27 accounted almost 14% (or €2,200 bn.) of total demand for goods and services in 2009.  The US Federal Government has an estimated annual procurement spend of €500 billion. By any standards these are huge market sectors.

Overseas public sector markets are stable, transparent, and increasingly accessible to Irish exporters. Most public contracts for goods and services over €130,000 (€5.2 m for works/construction) in EU/GPA countries have to be publicly advertised and must be awarded fairly and without discrimination as to nationality.

Contracting authorities in many countries are making greater use of the internet to advertise public contracts, a development which has greatly improved transparency and accessibility in this sector. In order to enhance awareness of this development, the following links have been assembled for the information of persons who may be interested in exploring such opportunities. It should be clearly understood that the following links are provided for information only and that the Department of Foreign affairs has no role in relation to the awarding of contracts or the procurement processes of the bodies/organisations concerned. It should be noted also that some of the sites listed (or their sub-sites) may require a subscription for registration.

Information on public procurement in the context of EU trade policy is available HERE

Information on resources/assistance available to Irish exporters in pursuing overseas public sector contract opportunities may be found at Enterprise Ireland

1.         EU/EEA Opportunities: Public procurement opportunities throughout the EU/EEA may be found at: : This website provides free access to public-sector business opportunities from across the European Union, the European Economic Area and beyond. It is possible to browse, search and sort procurement notices by country, region, business sector, CPV Codes and more. :This website provides access to information on public contracts awarded by the European Commission, the Agencies of the European Union, and the Representations of the European Commission in the Member States.

EuropeAid : EuropeAid awards grants and tenders to implement projects or activities that relate to the European Union’s external aid programmes. Detailed information on planned funding, procedures, beneficiaries are available on this page.

European Investment Bank :  The EIB is active in over 150 countries (the pre-accession countries of South-East Europe, the Mediterranean partner countries, the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, Asia and Latin America, Central Asia, Russia and other neighbours to the East), working to implement the financial pillar of EU external cooperation and development policies (private sector development, infrastructure development, security of energy supply, and environmental sustainability).

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development : The EBRD provides many opportunities for suppliers, contractors and consultants worldwide. Most of these procurement opportunities are related to EBRD-financed projects in its region of operations. But there are also a limited number of opportunities to tender for contracts involving internal EBRD projects and departments.

The European Defence Agency : This website provides information on tendering procedures and details of live contract opportunities. 

2.         United Nations, World Bank and other international organisations/agencies:

UN Procurement Division : This is a portal site which provides access to information on procurement procedures and opportunities offered by the United Nations and its agencies. It includes a page of LINKS to the purchasing departments of all UN agencies. The UN Agencies had a combined procurement spend of $14.5bn in 2010.  

The World Bank's Procurement Website : This link is to the World Bank's Procurement Website and provides detailed information on procurement procedures and opportunities arising in connection with projects financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and or the International Development Association (IDA).

The Development Gateway Market (dgMarket) :  The Development Gateway Market (dgMarket) is a global online marketplace providing information on donor and government-funded tenders. Currently, dgMarket publishes tender notices for projects funded by the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, Europe Aid, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, EU members states, Phare/Tacis, and the World Bank.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB): ADB funds development projects and programs in the Asian and Pacific Regions. Such funding generates opportunities for the business communities of its member countries (including Ireland). The website includes a business opportunities page which provides information on the requirements for goods, works, and services of projects under consideration by ADB.

3.         Other Procurement Websites that may be of interest:

Northern Ireland

The Website of the Northern Ireland Procurement Directorate : The website of the Central Procurement Directorate, Northern Ireland, including links to current business opportunities.

Great Britain

The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) this organisation undertakes centralised procurement on behalf of public sector organisations.

Contracts Finder  : Contracts Finder is a free new service which allows suppliers to search for live public sector contract opportunities advertised by various Government Departments and public bodies throughout the UK. The site already displays live opportunities with values in excess of £100,000 and these are refreshed daily. It is envisaged that further opportunities will be advertised via this portal as more government departments and public bodies participate in the system .

UK National Policing Improvement Authority : This is an e-Sourcing portal or “online marketplace” which provides access to contract opportunities offered by purchasing organisations in the UK policing sector, including pan-government contracts. : This portal gives free access to contract opportunities in Scotland, including Scottish Local Authorities, NHS Scotland, the Scottish Government, Agencies and NDPBs, Higher and Further Education and Emergency Services. : This site explains how the British Department for International Development (DfID) procures goods and services.

"Sell 2 Wales"  is a site maintained by the Welsh Assembly Government which provides online access to opportunities advertised by public sector organisations in Wales.

United States : This is the US Federal Government's one-stop virtual marketplace and provides access to a market worth up to $500 billion annually. Through this single point of entry vendors may monitor, search, and download information on opportunities solicited by the entire Federal contracting community.  


Information on procurement procedures and contract opportunities may be found on the  JETRO  website (

Australia : This site (AusTender) provides centralised publication of Australian Government business opportunities, annual procurement plans, multi-use lists and contracts awarded.  AusTender uses the acronym ATM (Approach to Market) to refer to any business opportunity advertised by Australian Government agencies. By registering your area of business interest in your AusTender profile, you will receive free automatic notification via email of the latest opportunities as they are published. (Note - Australia is not a party to the GPA.)

Canada This is a portal which provides information on contract opportunities for federal public works and government services in Canada.

Republic of Korea : This site contains useful information on the Korean public sector market, including public procurement opportunities and procedures which may be of interest to some Irish companies. (Note: The Republic of Korea has a government procurement specialist who is attached to its London  Embassy.)

Singapore : GeBIZ is the Singapore government's one-stop e-procurement portal. All the public sector's invitations for quotations and tenders are posted on GeBIZ. Suppliers can search for government procurement opportunities, download tender documents, and submit their bids online.

Hong Kong : This is a Hong Kong Treasury page with general information on public contracts and procedures including links to various contracting agencies.

Malaysia : This page is maintained by the Malaysian Ministry of Finance which contains general information on government tendering procedures as well as a links to Malaysia's electronic procurement system  eperlohan (English)    


Public Procurement Unit
Department of Foreign Affairs
(updated April 2012)



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