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TED - Tenders Electronic Daily

TED - Tenders Electronic Daily

TED Versions
Structure of the database
Examples of typical searches using CCL

Language(s) in which the database is available
Cost of the access to TED
The why, when and how of the Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV)
TED on ECHO: Tips
What's new on TED?

TED CPV database

Structure of the TED-CPV database
Examples of typical searches using CCL
Language(s) in which the database is available
Cost of the access to TED-CPV


TED = Tenders Electronic Daily


TED who is the online version of the printed Supplement S to the Official Journal of the European Communities contains different types of documents. The most important ones being calls for tenders, contract awards and pre-information notices.

Added to the above-mentioned documents other types exist such as amendments, further indications and information.

Documents published within TED and the Supplement S comply with international regulations, the most important of which are CEC and GATT regulations on the internal market. Added to these are documents issued by the European Institutions.


3 versions must be distinguished online :


    Use of the "ECHO" password or the temporary password, issued on the first day of every month by the ECHO help desk, allows all potential TED users (and indeed registered users of the other ECHO databases) access to a newly devised sub-set of the current TED database.

    The new demonstration sub-set has been compiled especially for users who wish to gain an insight into the type of data contained in TED either before obtaining a personal password or whilst waiting for such a password to be issued by the ECHO customer service.

    The TED demonstration database is a true reflection of the current, updated version (available only to registered TED users). The TED demo version contains Calls for Tender which were published online and in the Supplement S journal during 2 weeks (January 1994). Since it is a demonstration database, the data will not be updated. However, this does not undermine its content and the data of TED demo database are searchable either via the CCL (Common Command Language) or via the menu driven system.


    This version is daily updated from Monday to Friday, the documents being available online the morning of their publication in the Supplement S. This database is available only to registered TED users.

    (The printed version is published every day from Tuesday to Saturday. The Saturday version is loaded on ECHO on Monday.)


    Once the date published in the DT field (Deletion Date ) has expired, the tenders are automatically taken off the "current" database. You may still find them in the archive versions which contain details of tender notices from 1986. The archive version is loaded daily. This version is available only to registered TED users.

    Use the archive version to make market research on public procurement. The contract awards are of special interest to those users wishing to monitor trends in price levels. An added advantage of the archive version is that it can be used to define a search profile for regular searching. The archive file is much larger than the current TED file and thus provides more precise hints on useful search terms and codes to describe your area of interest.


For those of you preferring not to access TED online, a profile service via telefax or email is available. With the assistance of Commercial agents, a profile detailing your particular area of interest is defined and stored. The full tender will appear on your preferred output system whenever a tender matches from your profile. A list of these agents is available here.


TED is produced by :

Office for Official Publications of the European Communities
Mr. Kurt Glaser
200, rue de la loi
B - 1049 Brussels

Tel : +32 2 295 00 01
Fax : +32 2 296 06 24

If you have specific questions about the legal developments in the EC public procurement sector please contact:

CEC - Information Desk
Advisory Commitee for Public Procurement
Mr Paul Fraix
100 avenue de Cortenbergh
B - 1049 Bruxelles

Tel : +32 2 295 89 46
Fax : +32 2 295 01 27


Note : This table is only useful in the CCL mode


FIELD NAME            :ACRO : D    F   S    :   EXAMPLES  
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------  Title of document    :TI    : FT   FT  
X    :  F PACKAG$/TI  Publication date     :PD    : X    X   X    :  F PD=19960702  Number of document   :ND    : X  
  X   X    :  F ND=7633-96  Off. Journal number  :OJ    : X    X   X    :  D OJ=$  Page number          :PG    : X    
X   X    :  D PG=44  Document received    :DR    : -    -   X    :  S F=DR  by EUR-OP            :      :            
   :  Document dispatch    :DS    : -    -   X    :  S F=DS  to EUR-OP            :      :               :  Deadline 
for specs   :DD    : X    X   X    :  F DD>19960712  Deletion date        :DT    : X    X   X    :  F DT<19960101  
Type of document     :TD    : X    X   X    :  F TD=(1 OR 2)  Nature of contract   :NC    : X    X   X    :  F NC=4  
Type of procedure    :PR    : X    X   X    :  F PR=1  Regulation of        :RP    : X    X   X    :  D RP=$  
procurement          :      :               :  Type of Award.author :AA    : X    X   X    :  F AA=5  Type of bid 
required :TY    : X    X   X    :  D TY=$  Awarding criteria    :AC    : X    X   X    :  F AC=1  Referenced NDs    
   :RN    : X    X   X    :  F RN=69428-96  NACE Product Code    :CC    : X    X   X    :  F CC=33$  NACE Product name
    :CT    : X,FT X,FT X   :  F CORK                       :      :               :  F CORK/CT                       :
      :               :  F CT=$CORK$  CPV Product code     :PC    : X    X   X    :  F PC=2330$  CPV Product name     
: PN    : X    X   X    :  F PN=$WOOD$  Name of award. author:AU    :X,FT X,FT X    :  D AU=TELECOM  Country code       
  :CY    : X    X   X    :  F CY=FR  Original language    :OL    : X    X   X    :  D OL=$  Successful bidder    :CO 
   : X    X   X    :  D CO=$  Abstract             :AB    : FT   FT  X    :  F WOOD$                       :      :  
             :  F WOOD$/AB  Text                 :TX    : -    -   X    :  S F=TX  Original text        :OT    : -    
-   X    :  S F=OT  Original Abstract    :OA    : -    -   X    :  S F=OA    

EXPLANATION OF THE TABLE : D : Abbreviation for the CCL command DISPLAY F : Abbreviation for the CCL command FIND S : Abbreviation for the CCL command SHOW - : Indicates that the command is not available for the chosen field X : Indicates that the field is directly searchable FT : Indicates that the field is only searchable in free text If you search via CCL the database offers some pre-set formats for the SHOW command in addition to showing individual fields according to your choice (see list above). They are listed in the following :

All searchable fields in TED are also markable. If you wish to make use of this facility the parameter "REM" (for REMIND) within any SHOW command displays the reference with a number for each searchable term for further use. e.g. : S F=ALL;REM gives you all information available with one number per searchable field. To find all tender notices which have the same value in the field as in the document displayed on the screen, type in the number given by the system, e.g. F 2.03


This section provides useful tips for searching one of the TED versions using the CCL


    Tender notices for a specific country can be obtained with a search in the CY (country) field.

    e.g. : F CY=LU

    If you are searching for a notice from a specific city you can execute a search in the title field

    e.g. : F PARIS/TI

    As translations of city names may vary slightly, please make sure that you search for all possible spellings of the city.


    You can search products in freetext in the title (TI) and abstract (AB) field. If you wish to specify the field you may add the field name TI or AB after the slash.

    e.g. : F COMPUTER$ searches in freetext (TI and AB)
    F COMPUTER$/TIsearches in the TI field only

    If you want to pin point your search you may rather use the NACE classification. A list of classification codes is available online :

    D PC=$ gives you a systematic list of the codes available
    D PN=$ gives you an alphabetic list
    D PN=$AIR$ gives you a list of all codes containing the word AIR

    You may then choose the right code(s) using the FIND command

    e.g. : F PC=45212113


    Public procurement is quite a formal business. Therefore each tender must provide the following information :

    To view the possible values use the DISPLAY command

    e.g. : D TD=$ provides you with a list of all types of documents

    To choose a legal aspect from the list use the FIND command

    e.g. : F TD=7 searches for all contract awards


    This function is very useful when you regularly do the same kind of search. If you are searching TED on a regular basis (e.g. daily or weekly) for the same subject you may save your search with the SAVE command.

    To do this, execute the search with all the necessary FIND commands. Check the search strategy with the TAB command. (Delete search steps if necessary with the DELETE command, e.g. DEL S=3 to delete search step number 3). If the TAB shows exactly the search you want to execute on a regular basis it can be saved using the command SAVE (e.g. SAVE=COMPUT).

    When you next logon to TED, you can execute the stored profile (e.g. F SAVE=COMPUT). Your search can then be limited by defining the publication date (i.e dating from your last logon), or you can simply view the results immediately as the documents appear on the screen in descending chronological order.

    Information brokers may be interested to know that many profiles can be saved (up to 256).

    Stored profiles can be easily executed in other databases. You may store your profile in the archive version, call the current version of TED and execute the search there.


    Select one of the TED version using the command BASE followed by the poolkey or the full name of the required database (Please note that the results indicated are only examples)

    1. To obtain all documents issued from the United Kingdom :

      INFO ISOU (to see that United Kingdom = GB)

      F CY=GB

      (System reply : NUMBER OF HITS IS ...)

      You may limit your search by searching only "invitations to tender" :

      F CY=GB AND TD=3

      (System reply : NUMBER OF HITS IS ...)

      To limit tenders to dairy products :

      F CY=GB AND TD=3 AND pc=15$

      (System reply : NUMBER OF HITS IS ...)

      To obtain a quick overview of the results :

      S F=SHORT

    2. To obtain tenders published on a certain day from Portugal :

      F CY=PT AND PD=YYYYMMDD (Y=Year, M=Month, D=Date)

      (System reply : NUMBER OF HITS IS ...)

    3. To see if there has been an addition or a correction to an invitation to tender search for the document number which you read in the field RN (Referenced ND).

      example: You find an invitation to tender which has at the end the remark


      you then simply search for this addition with:

      F ND=61067-96

      to obtain the addition

    4. Select by the deadline of tender :

      There are two essential dates for your time restraints :

      DD : Deadline for obtaining documents (specifications) for the call for tender

      DT : Deadline for submitting the bids to the call for tender.

      Both dates are presented in the format YYYYMMDD thus enabling you to search for a certain time period, e.g.: F PC=14400000 AND TD=3 AND DT>19960702

      Remember that the address where a tender specification is available can be obtained from the TX field.

    5. Use the command DEFINE START to reprocess a search each time you logon to ECHO.

      A useful start command may be :


      This start command will automatically be executed in the Spanish version of TED, select documents for classification code 2220 (steel tubes) and show the results in short format.

    TI: UK-Dorchester: insurance services  PD: 19961220  ND: 148352-96  BASE: TEDA  OJ: JO S 247  PG: 182  DR: 
    19961217  DS: 19961217  DT: 19970102  TD: 3 - Invitation to tender  NC: 4 - Service contract  PR: 6 - Accelerated
     negotiated procedure  RP: 4 - EEC  AA: 3 - Local authorities  TY: 3 - Mixed 1 and 2 bid  AC: 9 - Not applicable
      CC: 8200      - INSURANCE, EXCEPT FOR COMPULSORY SOCIAL INSURANCE  PC: 66031011  - Accident insurance      
    66031031  - Land motor vehicle other than railway rolling-stock damage or      loss insurance      66031032  - 
    Land non-motor vehicle other than railway rolling stock damage      or loss insurance      66031037  - Fire and
     natural forces damage or loss insurance      66031040  - Liability insurance services      66031049  - Other 
    liability insurance n.e.c.      66031090  - Weather and other miscellaneous financial loss insurance      
    services n.e.c.  CY: GB  OL: EN  AU: DORSET COUNTY COUNCIL  AB: Category of service and description, CPC 
    reference number: CPV: 66031011,      66031031, 66031032, 66031037, 66031040, 66031049, 66031090.      Non-life 
    insurance services:      fire and natural damage or loss;      other property damage and loss;      liability; 
         other liability;      motor vehicle;      accident;      miscellaneous financial loss.  TX:  1.  Awarding 
    authority: Dorset County Council, County Hall, Colliton Park,       UK-Dorchester DT1 1XJ, Dorset.      Tel. 
    (013 05) 25 10 00. Facsimile (013 05) 22 49 41.         2.  Category of service and description, CPC reference 
    number: CPV:      66031011, 66031031, 66031032, 66031037, 66031040, 66031049, 66031090.      Non-life insurance
     services:      fire and natural damage or loss;      other property damage and loss;      liability;      other 
    liability;      motor vehicle;      accident;      miscellaneous financial loss.         3.  Delivery to: Various
     activities and establishments primarily in the      County of Dorset.         4. a)  Reserved for a particular 
    profession: The service providers must be      authorised to underwrite insurance contracts under the specified 
    categories      in the European Communities.         b)         4. c)         5.  Division into lots: Applicants
     may express an interest in tendering      for all or part of the insurance cover required.         6.         
    7.  Variants: Variations will be considered.         8.  Duration of contract or time limit for completion of 
    the service: A      minimum of 1-year duration. Quotations will be sought for coverage on a      long-term 
    agreement basis.         9.  Legal form in case of group bidders: No special legal form is required      by the 
    group of service providers, but each provider will be required to      become jointly and severally responsible 
    for the contract before      acceptance.         10. a)         b)  Deadline for receipt of applications: 
    2. 1. 1997.         10. c)  Address: Scott Campbell, Aon Risk Services, Briarcliffe House,      Kingsmead, 
    UK-Farnborough GU14 7TE, Hampshire, tel. (012 52) 80 73 91,      facsimile (012 52) 80 73 70.         d)  
    Language(s): English.         11.  Deposits and guarantees: 10. 1. 1997.         12.  Qualifications: Specifics 
    will be detailde in the broking      presentations, although financial stability and local authority experience
          are key requisites.         13.         14.  Other information: No deposits are required but guarantees 
    may be      required at a later stage.      Award criteria: economically most advantageous tender at the sole 
         discretion of the awarding authority. The specific criteria will be      detailed in the broking 
    presentation.      The awarding authority reserves the right not to accept any tender      submitted.      
    Deadline for receipt of tenders: 5. 2. 1997.      All tender should be forwarded to the awarding authority's 
    sole appointed      brokers at the address in 10 (c).         15.  Notice postmarked: 17. 12. 1996.         
    16.  Notice received on: 17. 12. 1996.    



    These versions are available in all the 11 official EC languages :

    Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish and Finnish.

    If you search using CCL commands, the DEFINE command is a valuable tool which can be used to alter the output language. To interrogate the database in the English language, yet obtain the results of your interrogation in French simply enter DEF TL=FREN before typing the SHOW command.

    For users wishing to search in another language (and not only view the results) your search table must be empty (i.e. no FIND commands have been executed before changing the FL code). If necessary delete the search table with DEL S=ALL. To use TED in Portuguese, type DEF TL=PORT;FL=PORT.

    Tenders which follow an accelerated procedure (PR=3) are normally available only in the original language in order to save time for rapid publication.

    NOTE : When online, you can obtain different language codes.

  2. TED ARCHIVE This version is available in the English language only. Since 1-1-1994 tenders contain in addition the original language of the text (field OT).


The use of the demonstration version (TED-DEMO) is free of charge. The price for using TED archive (TDZZ...) and TED current (TEDA):

You can find out exactly how much your search has cost by typing the command CALL TEDCOST. If you are in TED the command CALL TEDCOST will show you the costs incurred for the current session. CALL TEDCOST tells you the connect time, the number of chargeable records, the number of free records viewed and the total session cost in ECU. Remember that the ECU conversion rate is available online (INFO ECU-RATE).



Why a Common Procurement Vocabulary?

The number of EU directives controlling the way public authorities undertake their purchasing has been growing apace. Their intention is to encourage business efficiency by making purchasers advertise their requirements across the European Union through free notices in the daily Official Journal (OJ) of the EU. By this process of public competition suppliers can learn of business opportunities - in their own language - and purchasers can improve their chances of getting the best value for their money. A wider market stimulates efficiency in production, resulting in greater productivity and improved competitiveness for European industry in world markets, according to classical economic theory.

The growth in the number of directives is reflected in an even more rapid growth in the number of notices being published each day in the OJ. A typical edition now contains over 300 notices. A directive bringing the procurement of services by public utilities into the system came into force in 1994 and the creation of the European Economic Area together with the expansion of the European Union to include additional members will add even further to these numbers. It is becoming ever more difficult for suppliers keen to win business in these recessionary times to find the notices which are of real interest to them, scattered randomly as they are. Even Tenders Electronic Daily (TED), the on-line version of the OJ which provides a broad classification system based on the 1970 version of the European Union's activity classification (NACE) can leave the enquirer with a bewildering array of selections. What is needed is a finer filter, which will enable suppliers to pinpoint the opportunities which are of real interest quickly and unambiguously, whether they use TED or the paper version of the OJ.

To give suppliers a genuinely fair opportunity of competing for business, they should have a clear understanding of what it is the purchaser is seeking to buy, irrespective of the language in which they read it. This demands that notices should be translated to a high standard, with due attention paid to the very technical nature of many procurements. True, it is only required that translations of notices should cover the essentials of the nature and scale of the procurement, but every time a supplier takes the further step of having the full original language notice translated or sending off for the full specification, only to find it is not of interest after all, his time and effort are wasted. How many construction companies' hopes were dashed when they discovered that the "Governor housings" being bought by a gas company were not "accommodation for a High Commission" after all. Equally the forestry industry must have been sadly disappointed to discover that the "Christmas trees" being sought in large numbers by an oil company were of a distinctly non-vegetable nature. Usually the translations prepared for the Official Journal manage to avoid these pitfalls, but translation is a very demanding and arduous task, and a very expensive one for the European Union.

In addition to translating notices, the Commission have other responsibilities, among them that of monitoring the operation of the directives. This is not simply a matter of playing the policeman, but something much more fundamental: at its most basic, if putting all this legislation and administrative machinery into place is not resulting in a significant increase in intra-Community public procurement and the expected economic benefits referred to above, a entirely different approach may be called for. In order to judge what change in behaviour is occurring it is necessary to examine patterns of procurement for a range of products where the directives and other factors come into play at different points in time. Thus a system is needed for allocating the products purchased by the public sector to a number of different classes, so that procurement patterns can be compared with overall market trends and trends in the private sector.

All these areas in which a clear description of products purchased is essential have led to a proposal to classify procurement in terms of a specially created vocabulary. This was not a totally new idea: a vocabulary1 based on the "Construction" section of the United Nations' Central Product Classification2 has been in use for automatically translating "Public Works" notices for a couple of years, and has proved very effective not only in cutting translation costs but also in speeding up the publication of notices, so that even accelerated procedure notices can appear in a translated form. The extension of this principle to all notices for goods and services was nevertheless a daunting task, and one which demanded an organised and systematic approach.

Why start from the CPA?

Since the introduction of the "Works Vocabulary" a new product classification has been introduced in the European Union, primarily for use in assembling production statistics on a basis which can be compared with international trade statistics. This Classification of Products by Activity (CPA)3 does not only cover tradable goods, however, but all the products of all economic activities: goods, services and construction works. Moreover it is organised in a structure which reflects the structure of producing businesses in the EU so that, for example, concrete products are grouped together whatever their ultimate application because they are usually manufactured by specialist firms with the technology and equipment for producing things made of concrete. This producer-orientation has advantages and disadvantages for public procurement. On the plus side, it means that a producer can easily identify the notices if interest because they can be grouped closely according to the classification. It also means that statistics about procurement organised according to the CPA can be readily compared with other statistics, eg on production and international trade, about the same groups of products. On the negative side, the classification is not necessarily structured in the way purchasers are accustomed to organising their procurement nor in a way that is convenient for those dealers who sell a wide range of products from different producers, like builders' merchants, for example. It also makes it difficult to identify a product in functional rather than physical terms.

Acknowledging the potential difficulties arising from a producer-structured classification, to which we shall return later in this paper, the Commission nevertheless recognised the desirability of building on an existing comprehensive product classification established across the European Union for the projected procurement vocabulary and the particular benefits set out above. The CPA was therefore adopted as the framework for the vocabulary, which was initially named the Community Procurement Vocabulary (CPV), the initials reflecting the strong association with the CPA while recognising that what we were building would be a vocabulary rather than a classification in the strict sense. With the term European Union replacing European Community in general usage, the name was subsequently revised to Common Procurement Vocabulary, retaining the same initials. The link with the CPA imposes certain constraints on the vocabulary, in that it cannot introduce headings spanning different CPA terms, but this discipline is seen as a small price to pay in relation to the costs and confusion likely to arise with a new and different organisation of the same list of products.

Developing the CPV

From the outset, it was clear that in many areas the CPA would not be sufficiently detailed to provide an adequate description of the goods, works or services which public sector purchasers wished to buy. The notices are not intended to provide a full specification of the requirement, but they should be sufficiently precise for a potential supplier to decide whether it is worthwhile asking for such a specification. If a purchaser receives expressions of interest from dozens of suppliers who are actually unable to satisfy his needs, time and money are wasted by all concerned. At first it was hoped that PRODCOM4, a product list subdividing the CPA categories for industrial products into more detailed headings for collecting product statistics would help to solve this problem, but it quickly became clear that PRODCOM was too detailed in some areas and too aggregated in others, while the breakdown chosen for PRODCOM was sometimes unsuitable for procurement purposes in other ways. By way of example, let us take ladies' underwear. In CPA 18.23.24, the PRODCOM breakdown is almost entirely by the sort of fibre from which the garment is made, while for procurement purposes it is much more significant, relevant and, indeed, interesting to distinguish the different types of garment. It was therefore decided that the vocabulary would only use PRODCOM headings where they seemed well suited to our special purposes. But, to avoid conflict with the coding system used for PRODCOM whenever possible, we only use a PRODCOM code in the CPV if the coverage of that code is the same as in PRODCOM. The headings which are equivalent in PRODCOM and the CPV were indicated in the draft version 1.0 by the letters "Pr" after the code.

A number of other significant initiatives were undertaken to flesh out the vocabulary where a need was apparent. The first of these was to analyse a sample of 3,000 tender notices for supplies from the Official Journal to identify the specific goods for which authorities were advertising. (In 1992 only the Public Authorities Works and Supplies Directives were in force). This study produced over a thousand proposed subdivisions of 6-digit CPA headings. A second exercise took the existing Works Vocabulary and restructured it according to the CPA organisation, adding a few new headings and consolidating a large number of little-used similar headings. A study has also been undertaken into the effectiveness of automatic translation of the Works Vocabulary, with a view to suggesting additions and revisions to improve the standard of translation in future. As the directives affecting public utilities were not yet in force, advice was sought from the various European bodies representing the energy, water and transport sectors to identify the special goods and services which they purchase, so that provision could also be made for these items in the vocabulary. Services presented a particular problem, because although there was a long-established body of statistical experience in gathering information about goods, this was less true of services, and the CPA was regarded with less confidence in this area. Advice was therefore sought not only from purchasers but also from suppliers of services and experts in particular areas like computer services and financial services.

Both the CPA and the main part of the CPV specifically relate to the products of economic activities. They try to define those products by their intrinsic nature and the production process involved rather than by how, when, where or by whom they are to be used. Usually they are silent on matters of size or quantity. Yet all these things can help the prospective supplier to understand better the nature of an advertised procurement and decide if he is interested. Again drawing on an idea already proven to be of value in the Works Vocabulary, we decided that the CPV should incorporate a Supplementary Vocabulary offering a variety of terms which could be used to put flesh on the bare bones of a heading from the product section. The Supplementary Vocabulary thus provides terms indicating the field of use of a product - "for sewage treatment", performance and compatibility requirements - "waterproof", indications of scale - "length", additional physical characteristics - "tubeless", terms to clarify the scope of a procurement - "design and build", and terms indicating flexibility on the part of the purchaser - "or functional equivalent."

A great deal of trouble was taken to produce a good first draft of the vocabulary, and this was made available at the end of May 19935. However, there still remained an imbalance in the content of the draft, with some purchasing sectors and some classes of goods more fully and more professionally covered than others. A further phase of consultation was therefore started in which bodies representing the major classes of suppliers, the professions, purchasers in central and local government, Euro-Information Centres, and the public at large, were invited to make comments and suggestions on the draft. Inevitably there had to be a deadline for those comments and suggestions to be taken into account for the first working version of the vocabulary, but those arriving after that deadline will not be forgotten: they will be held for consideration in future editions


The products identified in the CPA classification have a code number which, at its most detailed level, has six digits. To allow subdivision of those categories and permit a hierarchy in that subdivision, the main part of the CPV extends those six digits with a further two. Borrowing yet another good idea from the "works vocabulary", a further check digit has been added to those eight, so that errors in keying the codes can be trapped and corrections made before the notices are published.


Of course, before the Vocabulary can be used to automate the translation of the main elements of notices, it must itself exist in all the languages of the European Union. It is important that a heading should convey exactly the same concept in each language, so the standard of translation required is very high, and because much of the text of the vocabulary is technical and oriented towards very specialised areas, a great deal of checking and refinement of the translated terms is needed before the vocabulary can be relied on for this purpose. Translation was completed in November 1993.

Indexes and cross-references

Most of the expected users of the CPV - purchasers and suppliers - will not be familiar with its structure and conceptual basis. With about 6,000 individual headings in the vocabulary, they will need help to discover which codes are appropriate to the products they wish to buy or sell. Alphabetical indexes to the CPV are therefore being prepared in each language, and will include important synonyms for terms in the vocabulary, as well as some specific instances in the case of generic headings. By way of example, the English index will point to the same headings whether one looks up "tube" or "pipe", while someone looking up "socks", or "stockings", or "panty-hose" will always be directed to the same generic heading referring to "hosiery". Though we must continue to provide for users who want to work with a vocabulary on paper, we also intend to provide searching tools in an electronic form, initially on floppy disks and in the longer term also as an integral element of an electronic information system. At first, some users of the vocabulary will be more familiar with other classification systems, like the Harmonised System which is used around the world for international trade, and a cross-reference index will be provided to enable them to find the appropriate CPV heading. The indexes will be published together with the CPV itself and these cross-reference tables in a single volume of the OJ for each language.

How will the CPV be used?

The system to be used for automatic translation of notices is built on a database in the Office of Official Publications of the European Communities (OPOCE). This database will contain the codes of the vocabulary and the corresponding text in all 9 official languages. Up to six terms from the CPV - three from the main and three from the supplementary vocabulary - can be used to describe the object of the procurement. By keying in those codes, the corresponding texts in the 8 non-original languages will be generated for printing. Some aspects of a typical notice, eg dimensional information, are the same in any language and need no encoding. They can be transferred directly to the secondary language notices. It has been conservatively estimated that using the CPV for translation of notices will save the European Union in excess of 1. 5 million ECU per year.

One of the main vocabulary terms selected to describe the object of the procurement will be designated the most important. It is planned that the notices in the Official Journal will be printed in a sequence corresponding to that term and that the code will be printed at the head of the notice. Thus when a would-be supplier wishes to locate notices of potential interest he will be able to turn quickly to the pages containing the codes for the products he has to sell. The same code, and any additional main vocabulary codes, will be stored in the TED database and provide the equivalent electronic means of locating interesting notices.

Automatic additions - NACE 1970 and trader codes

It is proposed to add two further codes automatically to notices stored in the TED database. The first is a code based on the NACE 1970 classification of the producing activity. This 4-digit code is currently available to users who wish to search TED for notices relating to particular products, and its provision will enable those familiar with the existing system to continue to use it for a short time, although it is expected that they will come to prefer the more specific searches made possible by the CPV. The second code - which we call a "trader" code - is only applicable to goods, and is derived from the CPA classification of wholesaling services for the class of goods to which the main product sought belongs. The intention is that traders in a wide range of goods to suit a particular market, stationery or building materials, for example, will be able to search the trader field using a small number of codes rather than the large number that would be needed to cover their entire stock using the main vocabulary. Thus procurements of pencils, erasers or envelopes would all carry the same trader code T1.47.22 "Wholesale trade services of stationery."

Who does the coding?

There is a requirement in the public supplies directive for the purchaser to identify the object of his procurement using the CPA. The public works directive provides a definition of a work which draws on the 1970 NACE classification, but does not require the purchaser to refer to that or any other classification in describing the work to be undertaken. The public services directive and the utilities directive ask for a CPC classification to be provided in respect of services contracts. There is an obvious need for rationalisation of these provisions, but it would not be appropriate at present to require the purchaser to provide more than a single code at a relatively broad level. Until the CPV has been developed to a stage where it is proven satisfactory for substantially all procurements, therefore, its use should remain voluntary. Thus, if a notice does not use terms from the vocabulary it will be necessary for those terms to be added by the staff at the Office of Publications, as is currently done for Works notices. This has a number of disadvantages, not only in terms of cost but more importantly in that the task is performed by non-specialist staff who may not be familiar with the jargon and technical requirements of the purchaser. It is therefore very desirable that the coding task should, whenever possible, be undertaken by the purchaser himself, to ensure that his needs are described as well as possible. To encourage this, provision will be made for inserting selected codes from the vocabulary in the standard forms which have been provided to simplify the task of preparing notices for purchasers. Because the main CPV vocabulary is an extended version of the CPA, provision of a CPV code will automatically satisfy the requirement of the public supplies directive to give a CPA code.

The "and" and "or" problems

These are shorthand names for two particular problems in preparing procurement notices. The "and" problem arises when a purchaser wants to buy bricks and sand and cement and lime in a single contract or, more likely, in a framework agreement. Each item in the procurement has its own CPV code and they may be wide apart in the coding system so that choosing a higher level code will not help to resolve the problem. The proposed solution is a combination of several features of the vocabulary that have already been described. Firstly, by providing for three codes from the main vocabulary it is possible to specifically identify the three most important elements of the planned procurement. Secondly by selecting a term from the supplementary vocabulary "and associated supplies" it is possible to indicate that the procurement covers more than just these three items alone. Thirdly, the automatic provision of a trader code which indicates "trading in construction materials" enables the builders' merchant, who is more likely than a brickworks to be able to satisfy the purchaser's requirement, to find the notice readily in the TED system.

Perhaps the ultimate "and" problem arises when we consider the turnkey project. In this situation the purchaser may be buying everything to do with a major scheme, such as the building and commissioning of a power station. The CPA provides for the building work, the design work, the machinery to be installed and all the other elements which go to the full project, but it doesn't provide a simple way of indicating that the buyer wants the entire package as a single deal. Recognising this limitation of the product classification, it has been proposed that the CPA should be supplemented with a section dealing specifically with completely equipped structures. If and when this is implemented, the CPV may follow suit and provide a matching set of terms for purchasers and suppliers to use. In the interim, the supplementary vocabulary has come to our rescue, and it is proposed that users should take the appropriate "construction" term from division 45 of the main vocabulary, and couple it with the term "turnkey project" from the supplementary vocabulary.

The "or" problem arises in part because similar products from the user's point of view are frequently produced by quite different sectors of industry. Provided his sleepers are suitable for carrying railway tracks economically a purchaser may be indifferent whether they are made of timber, steel or concrete and because each of these comes from a different sort of manufacturer it has a correspondingly different CPV code. Moreover, the purchaser may wish to follow good practice in seeking the best possible value for money, so that he is willing to consider alternative solutions to his problem of which he may be quite unaware. A scientist in some remote corner of the European Union may have just invented the ultimate plastic railway sleeper at half the price of the conventional article. Here again a combination of features of the vocabulary can help to provide a solution. Firstly, the purchaser can use some or all of the three available main CPV codes to describe what he expects to be the most likely or most conventional solution to his problem. The three positions will enable him to specify all three types of sleeper - timber, steel or concrete - that spring immediately to mind. Secondly, with the appropriate term from the supplementary vocabulary "or functional equivalent" he can make quite clear that he is not only willing to consider conventional solutions, but any other solution that suppliers may have to offer. The vocabulary does not, of course, do the supplier's entire job for him. If the inventor of the plastic railway sleeper really wants to sell it, he will be watching for notices asking for the conventional solutions so that he can leap in and sell his wonderful new product.

The longer term - refinement and revision

It can be guaranteed that the first working version of the vocabulary will fall short of satisfying all the demands that will be placed upon it. From its introduction, therefore, a number of actions will be set in hand to refine it to deal with as many as possible of the problems which arise. When a notice arrives at the OPOCE which is difficult to code satisfactorily using the vocabulary, a temporary code will be assigned and the translation of the notice will be undertaken by linguists. Those temporary codes will then be reviewed and if further or clearer terms seem to be needed in the vocabulary, the appropriate changes will be made. A further independent review will be undertaken by a comparison of linguist-translated and computer translated versions of the same sample of notices, with a view to spotting mis-translations and making suggestions for improvements in the vocabulary to avoid such errors happening in future. Thirdly, the door will be held wide open for users to contact the Commission and explain problems or make suggestions for improving the vocabulary. Indeed, at the suggestion of a user, we intend to make a simple "change proposal" form available with the vocabulary itself, so that it is absolutely clear who the proposal must be sent to and the format that is best for processing.

Revision of the published CPV cannot take place very frequently: it would not be feasible to print a new edition every time a revised heading was agreed. However, in order to refine the vocabulary and achieve as rapid improvement as possible, new and revised terms will be incorporated into the OPOCE version of the CPV as soon as a full set of translations is ready. Then, probably at annual intervals, a new version of the vocabulary will be published for general use. The CPV will continue to be kept consistent with the CPA and NACE, so short-term revisions will consist of adding useful sub-divisions to the CPA and revising the wording of headings to make their content clearer. In the longer term, perhaps every five years, the CPA and NACE themselves will need revision, hopefully on a small scale, and the CPV will again be revised to keep in step. By this means, the vocabulary to be used for procurement will be sufficiently flexible to cope with users' changing needs while forming a firm and reliable link with other classifications in use in the wider European arena.


  1. Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Communities, No S 217 N, Volume 34, November 1991, ISBN 0378-7273
  2. United Nations Statistical Papers, Series M, No 77, New York 1991. Also available from Nomenclatures Unit B5, Eurostat, Batiment Jean Monnet, Luxembourg.
  3. Official Journal of the European Communities, No L 342, Volume 36, 31 December 1993, ISBN 0378-6978
  4. PRODCOM List 1993.0, Eurostat, ISBN 92-826-4805-2
  5. Community Procurement Vocabulary including Supplementary Vocabulary - Version 1, May 1993, DG XV/B/4, European Commission, Rue de la Loi 200, Brussels, Belgium.

TED on ECHO: Tips

Update= 20/12/96

New command CALL TEDSTAT

The new command CALL TEDSTAT enables you to have a breakdown of a search result by one field.

You are looking for contract awards containing the word computer (F COMPUTER$ AND TD=7). You would like to have a breakdown by country (CY field). To do so, simply type the CCL command CALL TEDSTAT. When asked, indicate that you want a breakdown by the field "CY".

The system will get all country codes of the field CY, combine them with your search (Boolean AND) and give you the results. The results are shown on the screen, but they are actually executed as FIND commands. This enables you to SAVE them under CCL for re-executing the earch at a later date.

Content of the RN field

References between documents (e.g. between tender and contract award) can be currently published under two fields:

As of 1 April 1996, all these references will be published in the RN field. References will no longer be shown in the TD field.

TED updates 1996:

TED is published daily from Tuesday to Saturday. The updates are usually available on ECHO from midnight onwards. TED updates 1996: Every Tuesday to Saturday except: 15-08, 01-11, 25-12, 26-12. The first TED update in 1997 will be on 2-1-1997.

What's NEW ?

Update= 10/01/97

TED Updates for 1997

enter into force: during all 1997
Here are the dates where TED will NOT be udpated:

Monday, 31-03-1997
Thursday, 01-05-1997
Thursday, 08-05-1997
Monday, 19-05-1997
Saturday, 23-06-1997
Friday, 15-08-1997
Thursday, 25-12-1997
Friday, 26-12-1997

TED Updates during Xmas and New Year

enter into force: during Xmas and New Year
Here are the dates of the TED Updates during the feast:

Saturday, 21-12-1996
Tuesday, 24-12-1996
Friday, 27-12-1996
Saturday, 28-12-1996
Tuesday, 31-12-1996
Thursday, 02-01-1996
Friday, 03-01-1997
Saturday, 04-01-1997
Tuesday, 07-01-1997
Wednesday, 08-01-1997

And then, as usually, from Tuesday -> Saturday of each week.

Launch of the WWW TED Search Interface

enter into force: 01/12/1996
WWW Search Engine for the TED (Current) database has been launched beginning of December. Please try it and forward us with your comments

8 digits only for the dates fields in all TED databases

enter into force: 01/12/1996 
Since the first of December 1996, all DATE fields of TED must be searched with 8 digits

FIND PD=19961130
FIND PD=199612$
FIND PD=19961101 TO 19961130
FIND PD=19961101 - 19961130
FIND PD>19961101
FIND PD<19961201
FIND PD>=19961101
FIND PD<=19961201

PS: In these samples, the PD field was used only - but these rules are applicable to all Date fields.

New CPV Codes:

enter into force: mid 08/1996

The CPV codes have been set up by the European Commission, GD XV/B/4 - responsible for public procurement.
User feedback concerning the structure of the CPV should be sent to GD XV/B/4, fax +32 2 295 0127. (The suggestions will be taken into account for future versions of the CPV classification.)

Date fields new format: from 6 digits to 8 digits:

entered into force: 07/1996 -> 12/1996 
In autumn 1996, the date fields in TED will be changed from YYMMDD format to YYYYMMDD.

The date fields in TED are: DS, DR, PD, DD, DT.

The change is necessary because the field DT (deletion date) can be up to 3 years after the publication date. From 1-1-1997 it is thus possible that the field DT could contain a date in the year 2000.

The shift will be done in 3 phases.

TED online users have thus more than 4 months to modify any profiles and procedures. TED licence holders will get the new format as of 01-10-1996.

The demo files (test files for licence holders) will be updated in October 1996 to reflect the same structure as the current files.

TED Online: New prices and output formats:

entered into force: 04/1996 
As of 1 April 1996, the prices for TED Online will change as follows:

  1. The connect time charge will be reduced from 60 ECU to 30 ECU per connect hour. 

  2. The document charge for a complete document will go up from 0.8 ECU to 1 ECU. 

  3. A new document charge of 0.5 ECU will be charged when the AU and CO fields are viewed. Documents containing the TX or OT field (or both) will thus cost 1 ECU each. Documents containing the AU or CO fields (or both) will cost 0.5 ECU each. Documents containing any other fields will remain free-of-charge.

In line with the new prices, the output formats will be slightly restructured:

  1. The SHORT format (S F=SHORT) remains basically the same. It is designed for a quick overview. The RP field (regulation of procurement) will be added to provide better information on the legal regulations governing the tender. 

  2. The STANDARD format (S) remains basically the same. It contains a maximum number of free fields, including the multilingual OA field (original abstract). 

  3. The new EXTRA format (S F=EXTRA) contains, in addition, the AU and CO fields. This new output format gives information about the parties involved in public procurement (awarding authority and successful bidder). Format price: 0.5 ECU. 

  4. The ALL format (S F=ALL) remains basically the same. The AU field will be shown before the CO field. Format price: 1 ECU.

The new formats will be made available as of 1 April 1996. The commands CALL TEDCOST and CALL TEDUSAGE will also show the different types of output formats (1 ECU, 0.5 ECU and free). 

TED Alert: New prices and output formats:

entered into force: 04/1996 
As of 1 April 1996, the prices and output formats for TED Alert will change as follows:

  1. The new SUMMARY format includes title, abstract, original abstract, some dates and some legal information. The layout is presented in a user-friendly, self-explanatory format without field names. This format replaces the previous SHORT and STANDARD formats. Price: 3 ECU by fax / 2 ECU by e-mail. 

  2. The new DOCUMENT format includes title, text, original text, some dates and some legal information. The layout is presented in a user-friendly, self-explanatory format without field names. This format replaces the previous FULL format. Price: 7 ECU by fax / 5 ECU by e-mail. 

Some remarks concerning the prices:

AB and TX fields

entered into force: 04/1996 
For the moment the text is shown in the TX field, but the AB field is empty.

Swedish and Finnish: info files and legal codes available:

entered into force: 01/1996 
Swedish and Finnish have been official languages since the beginning of this year. Swedish and Finnish editions of the Official Journal are published already. TED can also be used in Swedish and Finnish: The command CALL TEDLANG allows these languages to be selected; in addition the commands DEF TL=SWED;FL=SWED and DEF TL=FINN;FL=FINN are operational in TED.

The complete TED info files have now been translated into the Swedish and Finnish languages and are available online. (Use the commands DEF LANG=SWED and DEF LANG=FINN to select the language.) The codes for legal aspects (TD, RP, PR, TY, NC, AA, AC fields) are also available in these languages. CPV codes in these languages are planned to be introduced in early 1996. 

TED-CPV - The Common Procurement Vocabulary


TED = Tenders Electronic Daily 
CPV = Common Procurement Vocabulary


The database TED-CPV has been produced by ECHO based on input provided by the producer of the CPV:

European Commission
100 avenue de Cortenbergh
B - 1049 Brussels

Tel : (+32) 2 295 89 46
Fax : (+32) 2 295 01 27


Note : This table is only useful in the CCL mode

  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------    FIELD NAME      :ACRONYM        
:  D   F   S    :   EXAMPLES    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------    
NACE Product Code       : CC            :  X   X   X    :  D CC=8                          :               :          
     :  F CC=8300    CPV Product Code        : PC            :  X   X   X    :  D PC=2010                          :  
             :               :  F PC=20102300    CPV Product name        : PNENGL        :X,FT X,FT X    :  D TOMATO 
     (English)           :               :               :  D PNENGL=TOMATO                          :               :
               :  F $BRIDGE$    CPV Product name        : PNFREN        :  X   X   X    :  D PNFREN=PONT      (French) 
           :               :               :  F PNFREN=PONT$    CPV Product name        : PNGERM        :  X   X   X  
  :  D PNGERM=BRUECK      (German)            :               :               :  F PNGERM=BRUECKE$    CPV Product name
        : PNITAL        :  X   X   X    :  D PNITAL=PA      (Italian)           :               :               :  
F PNITAL=PART$    CPV Product name        : PNPORT        :  X   X   X    :  D PNPORT=FERRO      (Portuguese)        :
               :               :  F PNPORT=FERRO$    CPV Product name        : PNSPAN        :  X   X   X    :  D 
PNSPAN=FERRO      (Spanish)           :               :               :  F PNSPAN=FERRO$    CPV Product name        : 
PNDANH        :  X   X   X    :  D PNDANH=MOT      (Danish)            :               :               :  F 
PNDANH=MOTOR$    CPV Product name        : PNDUTH        :  X   X   X    :  D PNDUTH=TRE      (Dutch)             :   
            :               :  F PNGUTH=TREIN$    CPV Product name        : PNGREK        :  X   X   X    :  D 
PNGREK=$      (Greek)             :               :               :    CPV Product name        : PNFINN        :  X   
X   X    :  D PNFINN=$      (Finnsih)           :               :               :    CPV Product name        : PNSWED
        :  X   X   X    :  D PNSWED=$      (Swedish)           :               :               :    


If you search via CCL the database offers some pre-set formats for the SHOW command in addition to showing individual fields according to your choice (see list above). They are listed in the following :

Please note that the field PNGREK contains texts in Greek characters. If you wish to display them on your screen please use INFO GREEK to learn how to do so.


This section provides useful tips for searching using the CCL.

  1. Which CPV codes belong to a particular NACE code?

    Syntax: F CC=xxxx
    Example: F CC=8300
    S F=PC

  2. Which NACE code belongs to a particular CPV code?

    Syntax: F PC=xxxxxxxx
    Example: F PC=20102300
    S F=CC

  3. Which CPV codes deal with "bridges"?

    Syntax: F PNENGL=xxxx
    Example: D PNENGL=$bridge$
    F PNENGL=$bridge$

  4. Which CPV codes deal with the French word "pont"?

    Syntax: F PNFREN=xxxx
    Example: F PNFREN=pont$
    S F=ALL


TED-CPV is available in the eleven official EC languages : Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish and Finnish.


The use of TED-CPV is free of charge.

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