Plans for a tool to allow EU countries to prevent non-EU firms from bidding for public procurement contracts worth 5 million euro (USD 6.5 mn) or more unless their home countries reciprocate by allowing EU firms to do likewise were approved by the European Parliament on Wednesday.
The plans approved by 479 votes to 184, should strengthen the EU's hand in trade talks with third countries, said the EP in a statement.
"We are not trying to shut off our market. We are trying to motivate other countries to open their procurement markets to our firms", said European Parliament rapporteur Daniel Caspary.
The tool could be used only for big public contracts worth 5 million euro or more and those in which goods or services originating outside the EU make up more than 50% of the total value of the goods or services involved.
It will apply to those countries which do not currently have an international agreement covering public procurement with the EU