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03 Nov 23. RoK lining up banks to help finance $22bn arms sale to Poland. After hitting statutory limits on import-export lending, South Korea is gathering local banks to help Poland buy $22bn worth of weapons in Seoul’s largest arms sale, five people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
“Five local banks are reviewing a syndicated loan as a support measure” to help Poland finance its purchase of South Korean rocket artillery systems and fighter jets, a South Korean government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing planning.
Two officials from a Korean defence company confirmed the syndicated loan plan. Two officials at South Korean banks said there would be loans, but did not specify the type.
It is the first indication that Seoul is working to remove Poland’s financing hurdles to enable the two countries to strike South Korea’s biggest-ever weapons arms deal, estimated at around 30trn won ($22.72bn).
The discussions are a follow-up to the comprehensive arms agreement between the two nations signed last year, under which South Korean companies including Hyundai Rotem Co. and Hanwha Aerospace Co. will supply tanks, howitzers and fighter jets.
That deal was worth $13.7bn, South Korea’s largest to date.
Spokespersons at both Hyundai Rotem and Hanwha Aerospace declined to comment for this story.
The South Korean government didn’t immediately provide a comment when asked for one.
The South Korean government official did not elaborate on the size of the potential syndicated loan. Such a loan is provided by a group of lenders to a single borrower, often to finance large deals.
The defence company official said that if the syndicated loan for the next proposed sale wasn’t enough, “there could be other financing measures on the way”.
South Korea’s defence exports totalled about $17bn in 2022, according to its defence ministry, up from $7.25bn a year before, as the war in Ukraine opened a door for Seoul’s weapons exports.
The 2022 arms deal with Poland established Seoul as a major player in global weapons exports, largely dominated by the U.S. and Russia.
Seoul is also seeking deeper security ties in Europe, an ambition with ideal timing for Poland, which borders Ukraine, as it ramps up arms imports amid tensions with Russia. ($1 = 1,320.4500 won) (Source: Google/Reuters)
02 Nov 23. Advantage UK if Germany bails on fighter-jet project with France, says British ex-minister. Any decision by Germany to jettison its €100bn fighter-jet project with France and remove its veto on a UK-Saudi aircraft deal would be “advantageous” to Britain’s defence interests, a senior British MP has told Brussels Signal.
An agreement between London and Berlin would be expected to see German Chancellor Olaf Scholz removing the European Union’s largest nation’s veto on the UK’s delivery of 48 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Saudi Arabia in a deal worth £5bn.
The swing-role combat aircraft – suited to multiple purposes – are to be built by BAE Systems in Warton, Lancashire.
Conservative MP Mark Francois, a former UK defence minister and minister for the armed forces, told Brussels Signal: “The Typhoon production line at Warton is nearly complete so German clearance for a Saudi sale is growing increasingly urgent, to keep the line hot.”
Germany had been blocking the UK-Saudi agreement based on concerns that the aircraft would be used for the ongoing war in Yemen. That decision angered the British Government, which views the sale of the fighter jets as strategically important.
Francois added: “Looking ahead, it could be advantageous if Germany were also to join the Tempest/GCAP [air power] programme, providing there were firm assurances we would not face similar obstacles to export sales of the new fighter in the future.”
Berlin is currently signed up to the Franco-German-Spanish Future Combat Air System (FCAS) programme looking to provide the next generation of air power in Europe.
The programme is beset with difficulties over delays, design and financing. Germany has already earmarked €40bn to put towards FCAS, which is not expected to be ready until 2040.
The UK, Japan and Italy are working together to build a rival system of fighter jets and drones called the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP), also known as Tempest – the name of the stealth fighter under development by BAE Systems and Rolls Royce. This programme aims to deliver its first aircraft by 2035.
In a move backed by the British Government, Saudi Arabia has also asked to be made a full partner of the programme. That would mean existing members sharing the billions of pounds in costs with one of the world’s biggest defence spenders.
According to reports in The Times newspaper, Scholz was concerned that FCAS was becoming an extravagant “white elephant” and saw no point in it competing with Tempest.
It said he had suggested either merging the two programmes or, failing that, bailing out of the France and Spain deal to join the UK alliance.
The Times report claimed the German Chancellor was “exasperated ” by France giving preferential treatment to its own aerospace companies in the initial stages of the FCAS project.
It added that a senior source in the German Government had remarked: “When France says European defence policy, it means French industrial interests. Scholz feels he has far more in common with the British than with the French on these issues.” (Source: News Now/https://brusselssignal.eu/)
02 Nov 23. Bosnia and Herzegovina is and will remain a single sovereign and multi-ethnic country: UK statement at the UN Security Council.
Statement by Ambassador James Kariuki at the UN Security Council meeting on Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thank you, President. Let me join others in congratulating China on assuming the Presidency for the month of November and wishing you the best. I also thank Brazil for its excellent stewardship during October. We welcome the unanimous adoption today of the resolution renewing the mandate of EUFOR Operation Althea, and I join others in thanking Switzerland for its efforts as penholder on the text. EUFOR’s presence remains crucial for peace and security in Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly with rising political tensions across the region.
I would also like to thank High Representative Schmidt for his latest report, which informs our discussion today.
President, the High Representative’s latest report paints a very grave picture. It outlines the divisive rhetoric and actions of the Republika Srpska leadership and documents the unprecedented rise in attacks against the Dayton Peace Agreement, Rule of Law, and the High Representative himself. In recent months, we have seen attempts to undo the very fabric and structures of the state, including efforts to undermine state and judicial institutions and calls for the separation of the two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Faced with this threat, the Security Council must make clear its full support for the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement and its structures. The UK takes its obligations under the Dayton seriously and we remain an active member of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board.
There can be no room for doubt: Bosnia and Herzegovina is, and will remain a single sovereign and multi-ethnic country. And we support the High Representative’s use of his executive powers where the situation requires it.
We also recognise the positive developments outlined in the latest report, including steps towards greater institutional functionality. We urge all parties to build on the positive momentum from the elections last year by working together and redoubling their efforts to deliver important reforms to enable progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Euro-Atlantic path. This will help to arrest the economic stagnation and democratic decline that threatens the country’s progress. We hope all parties will show the political will and courage to continue Bosnia and Herzegovina’s journey towards a democratic, stable and prosperous future to the benefit of all its citizens. I thank you. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
30 Oct 23. Rishi Sunak addresses existential AI threats ahead of UK safety summit. Rishi Sunak’s speech follows the release of a landmark AI report from the UK government highlighting serious threats posed by the emerging tech.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has vowed to tackle fears surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) ahead of the world’s first AI safety summit next week.
The national speech from Sunak on Thursday (26 October), follows the publishing of a landmark AI paper from the UK government on the capabilities and risks the emerging tech holds.
“AI will bring new knowledge, new opportunities for economic growth, new advances in human capability, and the chance to solve problems we once thought beyond us. But it also brings new dangers and new fears,” Sunak said.
“The responsible thing for me to do is to address those fears head-on,” Sunak added, “giving you the peace of mind that we will keep you safe, while making sure you and your children have all the opportunities for a better future that AI can bring.”
Sunak said he “genuinely believes that technology like artificial intelligence will bring a transformation as far reaching as the industrial revolution, the coming of electricity or the birth of the internet.”
The speech follows a newly released report which claims that AI has the ability to help plan biological or chemical attacks by terrorists.
Generative AI could be “used to assemble knowledge on physical attacks by non-state violent actors, including for chemical, biological and radiological weapons,” the report states.
It could also make it harder to trust online content and increase the risk of cyber-attacks by 2025.
The report, which is based mainly on generative AI, was made in part with declassified information from intelligence agencies.
During his speech, the PM announced that the UK would be establishing “the world’s first AI safety institute”.
“It will advance the world’s knowledge of AI safety and it will carefully examine, evaluate and test new types of AI so that we understand what each new model is capable of, exploring all the risks,” he said.
Laura Petrone, analyst at research company GlobalData, said the UK was “adopting a cautious approach” in terms of AI regulation.
“The EU and China have been the most active in envisaging regulatory frameworks and will likely set the standard for AI regulation over the next few years. The UK is not putting in place any statutory regulations for fear of stifling innovation,” she said.
Adding: “Nonetheless, the UK must be part of the conversation around the standards and best practices on AI and AI safety, and next week’s summit would be a great chance to achieve just that.”
Jaeger Glucina, MD and Chief of Staff at legal AI copilot Luminance, told Verdict that whilst risk and safety is important when talking about AI, fixation on these elements may mean the country risk’s missing out on the technology’s oppurtunites.
“Only time will tell whether the Summit will simply provide an impressive photo opportunity for global lawmakers or a genuinely productive forum for regulatory discussion,” Glucina said.
“Regardless, moving forward there must be a clear focus on how the UK can advance AI and ensure it represents an attractive place for AI businesses to start-up, grow and float,” she added.
UK AI Safety Summit
The world’s first AI safety summit, hosted in the UK, will see global leaders in government and technology discuss the potential threats AI poses for elections and national security.
The landmark two day event, beginning on 1 November, follows concern from the UK government claiming AI “could threaten global stability and undermine our values.”
Business leaders, industry experts and politicians are expected to discuss everything from AI’s impact on online safety to its role in equality.
The myriad risks posed by AI require “an urgent international conversation given the rapid pace at which the technology is developing,” according to the UK government.
The UK’s Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, said: “We are setting out a focused plan for the AI Safety Summit to face up to the risks of frontier AI, so together with our partners around the world we can reap the enormous benefits this transformative technology has to offer.
“AI presents an immense opportunity to drive economic growth and transformative breakthroughs in medicine, clean energy, and education.”
The summit will be held at Bletchley Park, with Matt Clifford and Jonathan Black having been recently appointed to lead the talks.
Bletchley Park was central to the team of computer scientists who broke the enigma code back in World War II. Alan Turing was among the team and the work that was done to break the enigma code remained secret until the mid 1970s. (Source: army-technology.com)
31 Oct 23. Montenegro: Political instability risks will persist despite newly-appointed coalition government. Earlier on 31 October, parliament approved the new coalition government led by the pro-EU Prime Minister Milojko Spajić. The coalition is comprised of a range of pro-EU, pro-Serbian and Albanian minority parties. This uneasy mix will likely sustain the risk of policy stagnation and government instability over the coming year. This also follows years of instability under the previous administration. Spajić has stated he will prioritise Montenegro’s accession to the EU and its ‘active’ participation in NATO. Challenges to EU accession include widespread corruption and the infiltration of institutions by organised crime groups. In the short term, Montenegrin businesses will possibly benefit from a proposed EUR 6 bn EU investment plan for the Western Balkans, though access to these funds will similarly require reforms. The government is set to postpone a controversial population census (originally scheduled for 1 November) by at least one month; should the census proceed at a later date it will be a possible flashpoint for domestic unrest. (Source: Sibylline)
30 Oct 23. Belgium’s defence modernisation soars as budget surpasses $8.6bn by 2028.
A look at Belgium’s defence strategy and modernisation plans, driven by increased spending and international cooperation.
Belgium is on the path to a defence upgrade, focusing on its Army, Navy, and Air Force, with the country’s defence budget set to exceed $8.6bn (€8.14bn) by 2028, according to GlobalData’s Belgium Defense Market 2023–2028 report.
Belgium is committed to modernisation, achieving Nato targets, and forming strategic alliances, all within the economic and social backdrop that underpins its defence strategy.
Belgium’s commitment to modernising its defence capabilities
Belgium, a nation known for its strategic importance in western Europe, is undergoing a transformative phase in its defence capabilities, fuelled by increased military expenditure. The country’s defence budget has grown from $4.8bn in 2019 to $7.1bn in 2023.
GlobalData’s Belgium Defense Market 2023–2028 report highlights that this shift can be attributed to a commitment to modernisation and pressure to meet Nato targets.
The Belgian Government has allocated an additional $10.8bn by 2030, a move aimed at bolstering acquisition capacity while fulfilling existing spending obligations.
The Army, in particular, will benefit from this increased funding, facilitating the modernisation and acquisition of new equipment including armoured vehicles and artillery.
While the historic period saw a 10.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in defence spending, the forecast period anticipates a slower growth rate of 4.3%. Despite this deceleration, Belgium’s defence budget is set to surpass $8.6bn by 2028.
Modernisation plans for the Army, Navy, and Air Force
Several key drivers underpin Belgium’s defence strategy. Modernisation is at the core, with the Belgian Government’s Strategic Defense Plan, approved in 2015, emphasising the need to increase defence spending to achieve a budget comprising 2% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
This increased funding is allocated to modernise various military branches including the Army’s armoured vehicles, artillery, transport helicopters, the Navy’s new frigates and mine countermeasure ships, and the Air Force’s acquisition of F-35A fighters.
Nato targets and missions play a role in Belgium’s defence commitment. In response to the conflict in Ukraine, Belgium has pledged to boost its defence spending, aligning it more closely with Nato objectives.
Belgium’s support for Ukraine is evident in its recent announcement of military aid worth $98.85m. This aid package includes the latest generation of SCAR assault rifles, MINIMI light machine guns, Iveco LMV Lynx vehicles and Volvo trucks. This marks the largest single military delivery to another country, highlighting Belgium’s commitment to international security.
Belgium’s defence budget as a percentage of GDP has been historically among the lowest in Europe. However, with it forecast to reach 1.4% of GDP by 2030, Belgium is gradually approaching Nato targets. Defence spending per capita is rising, reflecting a commitment to increased expenditure.
The context shaping Belgium’s defence strategy
Economically, Belgium is a highly developed nation with a robust domestic defence industry. Despite recent challenges, the country plays a vital role in Europe’s economy. However, it is essential to note that Belgium faces specific social challenges, particularly in combatting drug trafficking.
The country’s central European location has made it a prime destination for drug traffickers, with its extensive port facilities serving as key hubs for drug distribution.
Belgium’s defence modernisation is a multifaceted effort driven by increased spending, international cooperation and a dedication to meeting Nato targets. The nation’s unique position in Europe, its commitment to strategic alliances and its evolving military doctrine make it a key player in the continent’s security landscape. As Belgium’s defence budget grows, its role in international security will undoubtedly become more prominent. (Source: army-technology.com)
27 Oct 23. DOD, Lithuania Ministry of National Defence Enter into Security of Supply Arrangement. The Department of Defense today announced entrance into a bilateral, non-binding Security of Supply Arrangement (SOSA) with the Republic of Lithuania. The arrangement will enable both the U.S. and Lithuania to acquire the industrial resources they need to quickly meet defense requirements, resolve unanticipated disruptions that challenge defense capabilities, and promote supply chain resiliency.
“This Security of Supply Arrangement is a significant step forward in bringing our two nations even closer together,” said Dr. William A. LaPlante, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. “Not only will this strengthen both U.S. and Lithuanian national defense supply, but it will also strengthen our commitment to expanding future collaborations between DoD and the Ministry of National Defence.”
The SOSA was signed on October 27 by Dr. LaPlante and Ms. Greta Tuckute, Vice Minister of the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence at the Pentagon, in Washington, D.C.
In the Arrangement, the U.S. and Lithuania commit intent to support one another’s priority delivery requests for procurement of critical national defense resources. The U.S. will provide Lithuania assurances under the U.S. Defense Priorities and Allocations System, with program determinations by DoD and rating authorization by the Department of Commerce. Lithuania will in turn establish a government-industry Code of Conduct with its industrial base, where Lithuanian firms will voluntarily agree to make every reasonable effort to provide the U.S. priority support.
SOSAs are an important mechanism for DoD to strengthen interoperability with defense trade partners. The Arrangements institute working groups, establish communication mechanisms, streamline DoD processes, and proactively act to allay anticipated supply chain issues in peacetime, emergency, and armed conflict. For more information, visit: https://www.businessdefense.gov/security-of-supply.html
Lithuania is the fifteenth SOSA partner of the United States. Other SOSA partners include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
About the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy (OASD(IBP))
The OASD(IBP) works with domestic and international partners to forge and sustain a robust, secure, and resilient industrial base enabling the warfighter, now and in the future. (Source: U.S. DoD)
27 Oct 23. Turkey F-16 sale not a done deal, even with Sweden’s NATO bid on track. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent the ratification protocols for Sweden’s NATO accession to parliament this week, but it’s unclear whether that’s enough to lock down the $20 bn sale for 40 new F-16s that Ankara seeks.
That’s because the four key U.S. lawmakers who would need to greenlight the Block 70 F-16 fighter jets to Turkey are voicing concerns about other issues unrelated to Sweden’s NATO accession.
The chairs and ranking members of the foreign affairs committees in both the Senate and House can unilaterally place holds on arms sales. And as of right now, at least two of them won’t commit to signing off on the sale just yet.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ben Cardin, D-Md., told reporters Thursday he’s pleased to see Turkey moving positively on Sweden’s NATO bid, noting “it’s clear that they had to get this done before we would consider arms sales.”
“But there are other issues that we evaluate on arms sales,” Cardin added. “The use of the weapons systems, the human rights issues and concerns that we have. So there are other issues that we’ll be looking at.”
“But I don’t want to give any signals right now because we haven’t had those conversations with the administration,” he said. “I first want to hear from the administration.”
The U.S. State Department has yet to formally notify Congress of the Turkey F-16 sale, but national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in July that the Biden administration would move forward with the deal after Erdogan agreed to lift his hold on Sweden’s NATO membership.
The office of House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
A spokesperson for Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the ranking member “looks forward to the Turkish parliament’s ratification of Sweden’s NATO accession, as well as the cessation of attacks on U.S. partners in the region, cooperation on countering illicit Russian financial flows and a de-escalation of tensions in the Aegean.”
“The transmission of these protocols alone has not changed his position, and he hopes they are immediately ratified and progress is made on all these issues,” Meeks’ spokesperson said.
Turkish airstrikes have bombarded civilian infrastructure in Kurdish-held northeast Syria, cutting of water and electricity throughout much of the area. The Turkish strikes have killed at least 218 civilians, according to the Kurdish-led administration, which is backed by roughly 900 U.S. troops stationed in Syria.
Turkey launched its latest campaign against northeast Syria earlier this month after a group linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, attacked the Interior Ministry in Ankara, injuring two officers. The PKK is affiliated with the Kurdish-led administration in northeast Syria.
Turkey has previously used American-made F-16s it owns during its prior aerial attacks in northeast Syria. Turkey also stationed F-16s in Azerbaijan during the 2020 war with Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Azerbaijan won that war, and more than 100,000 Armenians fled the area in September, a move Armenia has described as ethnic cleansing.
Asked by Defense News about Turkey’s actions in Syria and Azerbaijan, Sen. James Risch of Idaho — the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — said he has concerns. However, he added, he may still give the greenlight for the F-16s should Turkey ratify Sweden’s NATO membership.
Risch told reporters the Biden administration has not reached out to Congress since Erdogan submitted the ratification protocols to parliament, but said: “I don’t think they really need to since we have had long, detailed conversations about that. Everybody knows what the parameters were.”
While the F-16 sale still hangs in the balance, Turkey’s most significant obstacle to the deal is no longer a factor. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., lost his position as chairman of the foreign relations panel after the Justice Department unveiled a corruption indictment against him in September — the second of his political career. As such, Menendez has lost his authority to unilaterally hold up arms sales.
Menendez had vowed to hold the F-16 sale even if Turkey ratifies Sweden’s NATO accession, citing a litany of other issues. One of his most prominent concerns was Turkey’s repeated incursions into the airspace of fellow NATO ally Greece and its ongoing occupation of northern Cyprus.
The New Jersey Democrat has pleaded not guilty to charges indicating he accepted bribes from Egypt and in turn lobbied his Senate colleagues not to cut or condition U.S. military aid to Cairo. Menendez remains in the Senate and is seated on the Foreign Relations Committee. (Source: Defense News)
27 Oct 23. Kosovo-Serbia: Failed negotiations will sustain tensions; flare-ups in North Kosovo remain possible. On 26 October, mediated talks between Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić failed to reach a breakthrough regarding normalising bilateral relations. Despite international pressure from France, Germany and Italy, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell reported that Belgrade and Pristina were unsuccessful in negotiations. The talks were principally aimed at formalising an agreement reached in February. According to the plan, Belgrade would recognise official documentation issued by Kosovo and would not block Kosovo’s membership to international bodies, but would also not be forced to recognise Kosovo’s independence. Failed negotiations will sustain regional tensions, especially with Belgrade continuing to insist on concessions from Pristina for ethnic Serbs living in northern Kosovo. The risks of possible flare-ups in the short-to-medium term will remain a realistic possibility, particularly in North Kosovo. (Source: Sibylline)
27 Oct 23. Small businesses to benefit from one of the largest shake ups to procurement regulations in UK history. New procurement rules have today become law, following the Royal Assent of the Procurement Act – and is part of the Government’s work to make long-term decisions that will change this country for the better.
• The landmark Procurement Bill has today been granted Royal Assent, becoming an Act of Parliament.
• The Act provides for simpler procurement processes to support small businesses and innovation, and protect against national security risks in public contracts.
• The new regime is expected to come into force October 2024 delivering lasting change for generations to come.
New procurement rules have today become law, following the Royal Assent of the Procurement Act – and is part of the Government’s work to make long-term decisions that will change this country for the better.
The new rules are one of the largest shake ups to procurement rules in this country’s history.
The Act establishes a new public procurement regime following the UK’s exit from the EU, and helps deliver the Prime Minister’s promise to grow the economy by creating a simpler and more transparent system that delivers better value for money, reducing costs for business and the public sector.
The new regime will deliver simpler, more effective public sector procurement, and help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) secure a greater share of approximately £300bn of expenditure per year.
The new rules will protect against national security risks in public contracts.
Significant new powers will enable high-risk suppliers to be put on a public debarment list and be prevented from bidding for some categories of goods or services, such as areas related to defence and national security, while allowing them to continue to bid for contracts in non-sensitive areas.
Minister for the Cabinet Office Jeremy Quin said: “We have taken the long-term decisions that will increase our powers to protect our security in our supply chains and procurement. This has included radical steps such as creating a National Security Unit for Procurement and giving Ministers the power to prevent suppliers from bidding for certain products where there is a risk to national security it will deliver lasting change which protects the UK for generations to come.”
The Act places a requirement on contracting authorities to assess the particular barriers facing SMEs throughout the entire procurement lifecycle, and to consider what can be done to overcome them.
For example, in the area of insurance, procurement processes can unfairly penalise businesses that lack the resources of larger suppliers. The Act makes it clear that contracting authorities must accept evidence that required insurance cover will be in place when a contract is awarded, rather than at the point of bidding. This will save all businesses, including SMEs, from having to incur unnecessary upfront costs.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office Alex Burghart said: “This Act is all about supporting British business using the opportunity of Brexit, as we change the way government works so it delivers better for people across the country. In particular, we draw on the new freedoms available to us by leaving the European Union to embrace and best support our small and medium sized businesses. The Act will streamline the way that companies bid for public contracts, while also giving procurers more room for negotiating prices and innovative solutions with these companies. These reforms will deliver better value for money, slash red tape, drive innovation and make it easier for suppliers of all sizes to do business with the public sector It will also be possible to exclude suppliers from bidding for contracts, not only if they’ve performed badly on other contracts in the past, but also based on modern slavery or professional misconduct grounds.”
The Act introduces a new duty for Ministers to proactively consider suppliers for potential debarment investigations.
To achieve this, the Government will introduce a new National Security Unit for Procurement. This unit will better protect people across the country by investigating suppliers who may pose a risk to national security, and assess whether companies should be barred from public procurements.
In addition, the Government is committing to publish a timeline for the removal of surveillance equipment produced by companies subject to China’s National Intelligence Law from central government sensitive sites. Government will also produce an annual written report to Parliament detailing progress on this commitment.
Cabinet Office Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “These new rules will help grow the economy and deliver better and simpler public sector procurement. I am particularly pleased to help small and medium sized businesses secure a greater share of nearly £300 bn worth of government contracts. The Act draws on newfound Brexit freedoms to create a more transparent procurement system – with clearer and faster competition processes in emergency situations, such as during health pandemics, ensuring that contracting authorities can act quickly and transparently to buy vital goods.”
Contracting authorities will also need to take account of the national strategic priorities set out in the National Procurement Policy Statement. This could include matters such as job creation, enhancing supplier resilience and fostering innovation.
The changes are expected to come into force once secondary legislation is laid and after a six-month implementation period.
The Cabinet Office will be providing all public sector contracting authorities with access to a comprehensive, centrally-funded learning and development package and guidance materials to help them prepare.
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