Work-life balance part of tender assessment in MLIT controlled WTO procurement: A new NTB?

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism (MLIT) has announced that it will include bidders’ efforts to employ women and offering of a good work-life balance as one of the items when assessing construction tenders conducted under WTO regulations, reports the Daily Engineering & Construction News (DECN).  The initiative will be experimentally introduced in large public works tenders and is likely to be expanded to all tenders in 2018.

It is not yet entirely clear how the Ministry plans to assess foreign construction companies with plans to participate in large public works construction tenders. DECN states that these companies are supposed to obtain a notice of qualification with the Cabinet Office. The way whether companies qualify is however also target of investigation. This this becomes clearer, it looks that a new administrative hurdle is put up for foreign companies in already notoriously closed Japanese public works procurement market and that the measure will primarily benefit large Japanese construction companies.

Source: Daily Engineering & Construction News, November 16, 2016