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On December 14, 2011, the Senate, in a plenary session, passed a bill (the "Bill") enacting the Public-Private Partnership Act [Ley de Asociaciones Público Privadas], and amending, adding and repealing certain provisions of the Public Works and Related Services Act (the "Public Works Act"); the Government Procurement, Leasing and Services Law (the "Procurement Law"); the Expropriation Law; the National Property Law, and the Federal Code of Civil Procedure.

The purpose of the Bill is to create a legal framework for partnerships between federal agencies and entities, on the one hand, and private entities, on the other, for the provision of services, including project finance, other than projects contemplated by the Public Works Act and the Procurement Law. Amendments to related laws and regulations (such as the Expropriation Law and the National Property Law, among others) have been introduced, for the best implementation of the new legal framework with respect to projects to be announced by the federal government during the next few years.

Pursuant to the Bill, a public-private partnership project will create a long-term contractual relationship between public and private entities for services to the public sector or to end users, taking advantage, in whole or in part, of infrastructure works built by one or more private entities; the aim is to increase social welfare and investment levels in the country.

It is to be noted that, as a general rule, the Public Works Act and the Procurement Law as well as their respective regulations, do not apply to public-private partnership projects, except as otherwise provided by the Bill.

Finally, it is expected that in the next few days the Bill will be signed into law by the President and published in the Federal Official Gazette.

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