Competition, antitrust, and procurement glossary (monolingual)

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the GW Law Symposium last week, mainly because of all the terminology I learned away from the confines of a dictionary. In the spirit of collaboration, allow me to share some below:

  • best value bid: n. awarding a contract to the “lowest responsible and responsive bidder” (source), even if the bid is not the absolutely lowest price offered.
  • CFIUS: n. the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US
  • demand aggregation: n. pooling parties who need small supplies of uncommon or difficult-to-produce products or services into one collective buyer. In essence, demand aggregation leads to a justifiable bulk purchase.
  • explicit collusion: n. an agreement between potential suppliers to suppress rivalry in order to maximize profits.
  • FAR: abbr. Federal Acquisitions Regulation
  • FARA: abbr. Federal Acquisitions Reform Act
  • FARC: abbr. Federal Acquisitions Regulatory Council
  • FASA: abbr. Federal Acquisitions Streamlining Act
  • greenmail: n. money paid as a settlement to the party protesting the results of a bid.
  • incremental profit: n. money made on top of expected profits
  • knock-on effects: n. pl. secondary, often unintentional results of an action that affect groups outside of those immediately targeted.
  • Last Supper: n. refers to the reduction of viable suppliers to a select group through consolidation and mergers. Can also refer to a dinner event in the 1990s at which this tactic was encouraged on the eve of spending cuts. See here and here.
  • MEAT: n. the most economically advantageous tender. Used to describe aspects of European procurement. See “tender” below.
  • monopsonistic: adj. describing the buying-side equivalent of a monopoly. For instance, the military is the only buyer for certain high-tech, high-cost weaponry and vehicles, therefore it has a monopsonistic power over that part of the defense industry. See “reverse auction” below.
  • novation: n. a substitution of a new debt for an old debt. The old debt is extinguished by the new one contracted in its stead. (source)
  • offset: n. a fringe requirement in a contract unrelated to the provision of goods or services contracted, such as mandating “buy local” to vendors who may need to purchase materials for producing their final contracted product. (source)
  • past performance: n. one major buyer factor in government procurement, meaning how well the potential vendor carried out duties under a previous contract. Note that, in US government procurement, past performance reviews focus more heavily—almost exclusively—on previous work for the government, rather than overall commercial performance.
  • post-nation contract: n. a purchasing agreement that aims to improve the economic situation surrounding a vendor, rather than maximizing on best value for price. For example, the Army employing Afghan truck drivers in Afghanistan even if a corporate entity could supply drivers at a better price.
  • price reduction clause: n. requiring the winning bidder to provide cut-rate prices to the government as a buyer. This is actually a tricky legal contract concept, so I recommend reading more here.
  • reverse auction: n. in which sellers compete to provide services to a buyer, resulting in prices dropping at each round of bidding. (In a forward auction, buyers compete to offer ever-increasing amounts of money to the seller.)
  • right-size: v. to reduce a workforce or production capacity to fit the immediately foreseeable needs of a purchaser.
  • sealed bid first price auction: n. a method of procurement by which potential suppliers submit their offers in secret, with the lowest number “winning.”
  • teaming: n. in a general sense, grouping businesses with varying capabilities into a collective single bidder in order to meet requirements for winning a contract. In a more “conspiratorial” sense, it can mean “front-loading” a bid with partner companies who don’t add value, but contribute to compliance with diversity and other regulations.
  • tender: n. the European way to say “bid.”
  • trailing indicator: n. a downstream measurement of the effectiveness of a new policy or action. Lower prices on an item might be a trailing indicator (secondary result) of a policy that discourages cartelism or bidding rings (a leading indicator of this might be a change in the major bidders for a certain type of project). For an easier to grasp, non-procurement example, see here.
  • waterbed effect: n. the result of some policy that improves conditions for a major group, but worsens conditions for those on the fringe.
  • WTO GPA: n. the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement; covers 42 Member jurisdictions and reinforces “competition on the merits.”
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One thought on “Competition, antitrust, and procurement glossary (monolingual)

  1. Pingback: All things legal | translation, untangled

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