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In 2017, senior executives at Amazon set a goal of securing incentives for real estate projects in addition to any money it got from government money for building its second headquarters. (The Wall Street Journal)

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Talking point: Eleven Canadian cities submitted bids to host HQ2. None won, but Amazon has since increased its presence in many. It’s announced new distribution warehouses in cities including Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Edmonton; it’s also hiring 3,000 people in Vancouver. Amazon is interested in getting money from governments across Canada—at least when it comes to procurement dollars. As The Logic reported in August 2018, the firm started lobbying for billions in cloud services contracts after it shortlisted Toronto for its HQ2. Whether it received any real estate incentives, in Canada or elsewhere, is less clear. One source told The Wall Street Journal that the US$1-billion goal set for 2017 was abandoned for 2018 after the firm failed to meet it.

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The Montreal-based engineering firm will pay a $280-million fine after admitting a single count of fraud over $5,000. Charges against the parent company were dropped. It faced allegations of paying Libyan officials almost $48 million between 2001 and 2011 to influence government contracting choices, as well as defrauding clients in the country of $130 million. (The Canadian Press)

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Talking point: The guilty plea settles a case that caused political turmoil in Ottawa, after the company sought a deferred prosecution agreement, which would have allowed it to avoid a criminal conviction by paying a fine and agreeing to improve its business practices. Former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet, alleging she’d been pressured by top political and Liberal officials to make the deal. Under federal procurement rules, some criminally convicted firms are banned from receiving federal contracts for up to 10 years. In a statement, SNC noted that the settlement was made by its construction subsidiary, and that it does not expect its “eligibility … to bid on future projects” to be affected.

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The Pentagon assessed outdated documents and didn’t consider some of Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) features, it said in a complaint to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims unsealed Monday. It cited as examples of pressure the president’s criticism of Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos in public statements and tweets, and the removal of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis in December 2018 as direct interference in the contract award. Donald Trump has also criticized The Washington Post, which Bezos owns, for its reporting. The department said the president did not interfere. (The New York Times)

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Talking point: Microsoft was awarded the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) procurement in October. But the project’s prospects are now complicated by two cases—Amazon’s and Oracle’s appeal of an unsuccessful suit that claims three defence department officials had conflicts of interest with AWS. Amazon continues to pursue the JEDI contract despite employee opposition to its work with government agencies; on Saturday, Bezos said at an event that the U.S. would be “in trouble” if tech firms “turn their backs on the Department of Defense.”

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The Trump administration is set to move federal procurement away from government-run purchasing websites in 2020, instead contracting with e-commerce platforms. (The Wall Street Journal)

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Talking point: Amazon, Walmart and eBay have all placed bids to become the go-to virtual spot for federal purchases, which could amount to up to US$50 billion a year. U.S. government officials expect e-commerce to save time, create more competition for government procurement and give more information about how taxpayer money is spent. Federal workers already use government-issued purchase cards on sites like Amazon, with legal purchase set at anything lower than US$10,000. Amazon—frequently criticized by President Donald Trump over its business practices and economic impact, and for CEO Jeff Bezos’s ownership of the Washington Post—already sells to many states and local American governments, ships via the U.S. Postal Service and provides cloud computing for dozens of federal agencies.

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The company, which has close ties to the Chinese government, is wooing Japanese industries and universities with an anticipated US$11 billion in spending this year—the equivalent of what it spent on procurement in the U.S. last year. (Nikkei Asian Review)

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Talking point: The move comes in the wake of Washington’s blacklisting of Huawei, which has faced accusations of espionage. Imposed in May, the blacklist has hamstrung Huawei’s attempts to penetrate the cell phone and 5G infrastructure markets in the country—as well as its ability to recruit the suppliers and R&D muscle needed to make those very products. In Japan, Huawei has a partner in manufacturing, physics and chemistry, along with an extensive university network. Due to a ban announced last December, Japan’s government and defence forces cannot use Huawei or ZTE computers, servers or telecommunications equipment. Meanwhile, the company has begun striking back at its critics in court, filing defamation suits against critics including a French journalist who said the company has ties to the Chinese government.