On 4 November this year, the Georgian Railways, a state-owned company, announced a GEL 184 million (68 million USD) tender for the purchase of ten electric locomotives, presumably tailored to Russian companies, as only companies with a certificate issued in the Eurasian Economic Union, founded and dominated by Russia, can participate in the tender, Transparency International Georgia reported.
The documentation uploaded to the state procurement website states that the company wishing to participate in the tender must submit: "a certificate of compliance with the requirements of "НБ ЖТ ЦТ 04-1998" or "ТР ТС 001/2011" [...] issued by an accredited organization included in the register of the Railway Transport Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)."
The Eurasian Economic Union is an economic union founded and promoted by the Russian Federation, consisting of five member states: Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.
"With this provision, the Georgian Railway had effectively defined the countries where the goods to be procured could be manufactured," TI Georgia said.
At the same time, the Georgian Railways is pushing for the purchase to be made through a special procurement procedure approved by the Georgian government for the company until 10 February 2024.
"The tender announced by Georgian Railways on 4 November openly violates the fair and non-discriminatory approach to procurement participants (Article 2 of the Law on Public Procurement) by requiring the Russian certificate. A procurer must emphasize the quality of the goods to be procured, not their origin," TI Georgia said.
In 2021, an Austrian company, GSL Steel Trade GmbH, was barred from participating in the Georgian Railways tender because it did not have Eurasian Union certificates. In the end, Georgian Railways bought Russian-made rails worth $17 million.