Procurement preferences for the fifty states

Here is a detailed assessment of the procurement preferences for each State.

Note: The government of Canada has done an excellent job of describing the hurdles facing non-U.S. companies wanting to do business in the fifty states.

Many U.S. states implement preferences that favor certain vendors, products or services over others in a bidding situation. Whereas the purchasing authority usually seeks the lowest bidders, under certain circumstances it is sometimes willing to accept a bid a certain percentage higher than the lowest bid if the lowest bidder is not from the region. Purchasing authorities may also refuse to accept bids from non-resident bidders.

For example, when it seeks suppliers for highways and buildings, Rhode Island is willing to pay 15% more for steel manufactured or produced in the United States (as opposed to steel from Canada). Not all states apply preferences, and preferences vary from state to state.

NAFTA Chapter 10 and state procurement preferences

NAFTA Chapter 10 coverage on government procurement is limited to the federal level. NAFTA Chapter 10 encourages but does not require state, provincial or local buyers to provide equal treatment for offerors from outside their jurisdictions. Therefore, U.S. states may apply these preferences, which might disadvantage Canadian firms in their state and local government purchasing.

Types of state preferences Reciprocal preferences – These preferences are applied against out-of-state bidders when their jurisdiction of origin applies preferences against out-of-state bidders. In other words, state A will apply the same preferences against companies from state B that state B applies to companies from state A.

Tie bid preference – When two bidders propose the same price for the same contract, the in-state bidder will be favored. This is not always codified. For example, Kentucky has an informal tie bid preference.

Specific product preferences – Specific product preferences are most often agricultural products, including fisheries, steel, and printing products and services which must be procured from within the state unless unavailable.

Regulations and resources

Summary table of state procurement preferences


An “X” or a number indicates the application of preferences.

T  = Tie bid preference: When two bidders propose the same price for the same contract, the in-state bidder will be favoured. This is not always codified. Kentucky, for example, has an informal tie bid preference. R  = Reciprocity in preferences % = Amount of preference applied L  = Preference for labour P  = Preference for products A  = Preference for agricultural products (incl. fisheries) S  = Preference for U.S. or State made steel

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