B-175262, JUN 12, 1972

B-175262: Jun 12, 1972

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PROTESTANT'S CONTENTIONS ARE ANSWERED AS FOLLOWS: 1) UNTIL THE NECESSARY FINDINGS BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY AND THE TARIFF COMMISSION ARE MADE. THAT 15 U.S.C. 13A IS NOT APPLICABLE TO GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS FOR SUPPLIES. CARRIES GREAT WEIGHT AND WILL NOT BE OPPOSED FOR LESS THAN COGENT REASONS. IS NOT AWARE OF ANY STATUTORY PROHIBITION AGAINST THE SUBMISSION OF AN UNPROFITABLE BID. THE PROTEST IS DENIED. THE SOLICITATION WAS FOR FURNISHING. FOUR BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND OPENED ON FEBRUARY 15. WAS $1. YOU ALLEGE THAT THE PRICES QUOTED FOR THE JAPANESE CABLE ARE BELOW COST AND THAT SUCH BIDS SHOULD BE REJECTED FOR THE REASONS THAT (1) DUMPING IS INVOLVED WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ANTIDUMPING ACT.

B-175262, JUN 12, 1972

BID PROTEST - UNREASONABLY LOW FOREIGN BID PRICE - ANTIDUMPING ACT DECISION DENYING THE PROTEST OF THE OKONITE COMPANY AGAINST AWARD TO ANY BIDDER OFFERING SUBMARINE POWER CABLE OF JAPANESE MANUFACTURE UNDER A SOLICITATION ISSUED BY THE BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION. PROTESTANT'S CONTENTIONS ARE ANSWERED AS FOLLOWS: 1) UNTIL THE NECESSARY FINDINGS BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY AND THE TARIFF COMMISSION ARE MADE, THE PROVISIONS OF THE ANTIDUMPING ACT, 19 U.S.C. 160-171, CANNOT BE APPLIED. 2) THE OPINION OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, THAT 15 U.S.C. 13A IS NOT APPLICABLE TO GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS FOR SUPPLIES, CARRIES GREAT WEIGHT AND WILL NOT BE OPPOSED FOR LESS THAN COGENT REASONS. SEE 38 OP. ATTY. GEN. 539 (1936). 3) THE COMP. GEN. IS NOT AWARE OF ANY STATUTORY PROHIBITION AGAINST THE SUBMISSION OF AN UNPROFITABLE BID. B-173276, AUGUST 19, 1971. 4) IN THE ABSENCE OF PREEXISTING AUTHORITY, SECTION 3(A) OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 10582 CONFERS NO NEW BASES FOR BID REJECTION IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST. 42 COMP. GEN. 608 (1963). IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING AND SINCE ALLOWANCE OF THE TOTAL EVALUATION WOULD STILL BE INSUFFICIENT TO OVERCOME PROTESTANT'S PRICE DISADVANTAGE, THE PROTEST IS DENIED.

TO THE OKONITE COMPANY:

WE REFER TO YOUR PROTEST AGAINST AWARD TO ANY BIDDER WHO OFFERED SUBMARINE POWER CABLE OF JAPANESE MANUFACTURE UNDER BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION SOLICITATION NO. 2004.

THE SOLICITATION WAS FOR FURNISHING, INSTALLING AND TESTING A 34.5 KV SUBMARINE CABLE SYSTEM IN THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS, STATE OF WASHINGTON. FOUR BIDS WERE RECEIVED AND OPENED ON FEBRUARY 15, 1972, AS FOLLOWS:

BIDDER AMOUNT

SUMITOMO SHOJI AMERICA INC. $1,060,344

KANEMATSU-GOSHO (U.S.A.) INC. 1,299,300

C. ITOH & CO. (AMERICA) INC. 1,466,824

AMELCO ELECTRIC 2,371,720

IN YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 18, 1972, YOU STATE THAT YOUR FIRM SUPPLIED A QUOTATION FOR THE SUBMARINE POWER CABLE TO AMELCO. YOU FURTHER STATE THAT THE THREE LOW BIDDERS OFFERED CABLE OF JAPANESE MANUFACTURE FOR ITEM 10 OF THE SOLICITATION AT THE FOLLOWING BID PRICES:

SUMITOMO $498,000

ITOH 671,000

KANEMATSU 771,000

THE BID PRICE OF AMELCO, BASED ON YOUR QUOTATION, WAS $1,600,000 FOR ITEM 10.

YOU ALLEGE THAT THE PRICES QUOTED FOR THE JAPANESE CABLE ARE BELOW COST AND THAT SUCH BIDS SHOULD BE REJECTED FOR THE REASONS THAT (1) DUMPING IS INVOLVED WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ANTIDUMPING ACT, 19 U.S.C. 160-171; (2) 15 U.S.C. 13A, WHICH MAKES IT UNLAWFUL TO SELL GOODS AT UNREASONABLY LOW PRICES FOR THE PURPOSE OF DESTROYING COMPETITION, IS VIOLATED; (3) THE BIDS ARE UNREASONABLE UNDER FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS 1-2.404-2 IN THAT THEY WERE MADE IN BAD FAITH FOR THE PURPOSE OF DESTROYING COMPETITION AND (4) THE PREFERENCE FOR DOMESTIC PRODUCTS UNDER THE BUY-AMERICAN ACT, 41 U.S.C. 10A - 10D, EXECUTIVE ORDER 10582 AND PART 1-6 OF THE FEDERAL PROCUREMENT REGULATIONS CANNOT BE MEASURED SINCE THE JAPANESE BIDS DID NOT REPRESENT TRUE COSTS.

IN SUPPORT OF THE FOREGOING, YOU ASSERT THAT THE COST OF MATERIALS ALONE IS APPROXIMATELY $350,000 IN THE UNITED STATES AND THE PRICES OF THE STEEL, COPPER AND INSULATING MATERIAL INVOLVED DO NOT VARY TO ANY GREAT DEGREE IN JAPAN. YOU CONTEND THAT THE ADDITIONAL COST OF DIRECT LABOR, OVERHEAD, FREIGHT, DUTY AND PROFIT WOULD RESULT IN A TOTAL COST IN EXCESS OF THE HIGHEST JAPANESE BID.

IN A MEMORANDUM DATED FEBRUARY 24, 1972, THE CHIEF OF MATERIALS AND PROCUREMENT RECOMMENDED TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION, THAT AWARD BE MADE PRIOR TO RESOLUTION OF YOUR PROTEST SINCE INSTALLATION OF THE CABLE IS ESSENTIAL BY OCTOBER OF THIS YEAR TO MAINTAIN THE RELIABILITY OF ELECTRIC SERVICE TO THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS. THE PRESENT PROCUREMENT IS FOR A CABLE TO REPLACE ONE INSTALLED IN APRIL 1951 WHICH FAILED AND WAS RESTORED TO SERVICE IN NOVEMBER 1964, AUGUST 1965 AND JUNE 1969. THE CABLE AGAIN FAILED IN DECEMBER 1969 AND IS STILL OUT OF SERVICE. DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER IN THE AREA AFTER THE DELIVERY DATE OF OCTOBER 2, 1972, FAILURE TO COMPLETE THE WORK BY THAT TIME WILL PRECLUDE COMPLETION OF THE CABLE SYSTEM UNTIL THE FOLLOWING SUMMER. THE MEMORANDUM POINTS OUT THAT THE LACK OF LEEWAY IN THE SCHEDULE IS DUE IN PART TO THE FACT THAT YOUR PROPOSAL, IN STEP 1 OF THIS TWO-STEP PROCUREMENT, WAS REJECTED FOR FAILURE TO MEET THE ARMOR SPECIFICATIONS AND APPROXIMATELY SIX WEEKS' DELAY RESULTED FROM YOUR ATTEMPTS TO FURNISH A TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE FIRST-STEP PROPOSAL. YOU EVENTUALLY MET THE TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS BY PROPOSING TO FURNISH CABLE OF YOUR OWN MANUFACTURE AND SUBCONTRACT THE APPLICATION OF THE ARMOR TO THE SIMPLEX COMPANY. THE DELAY APPEARED TO BE JUSTIFIED SINCE YOUR FIRM WAS THE ONLY DOMESTIC CABLE PRODUCER INVOLVED IN THIS PROCUREMENT.

THE ACTING ADMINISTRATOR APPROVED THE RECOMMENDATION AND AWARD WAS MADE ON MARCH 2, 1972, TO SUMITOMO SHOJI AMERICA, INC; AS THE LOW RESPONSIVE, RESPONSIBLE BIDDER.

THE REPORT FROM THE BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION TAKES ISSUE WITH EACH OF THE FOUR GROUNDS IN YOUR PROTEST AND STATES: (1) AT 39 COMP. GEN. 760 (1960) THIS OFFICE HELD THAT DUMPING WAS NOT INVOLVED IN A CASE SIMILAR TO THE PRESENT ONE; (2) THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES HAS ISSUED AN OPINION THAT 15 U.S.C. 13A IS NOT APPLICABLE TO GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS FOR SUPPLIES; (3) BIDS ARE "UNREASONABLE" UNDER FPR 1-2.404-2 ONLY WHEN THEY ARE TOO HIGH AND A BID MAY NOT BE REJECTED AS UNREASONABLY LOW WITHOUT A DETERMINATION THAT THE BIDDER IS NONRESPONSIBLE, PURSUANT TO A LONG LINE OF CASES DECIDED BY THIS OFFICE; AND (4) THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT IN THE BUY AMERICAN ACT, EXECUTIVE ORDER 10582, OR PART 1-6 OF FPR THAT COMPARISONS OF BIDS BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF SUPPLIER'S COSTS, BUT SUCH COMPARISONS ARE MADE ON THE BASIS OF BID PRICES ONLY.

YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 11, 1971, COMMENTING ON THE REPORT OF THE CONTRACTING AGENCY, RETREATS FROM YOUR EARLIER ALLEGATION THAT ALL PRICES QUOTED BY THE JAPANESE BIDDERS ARE UNREASONABLY LOW AND MAKES SUCH ALLEGATION ONLY WITH RESPECT TO THE LOW BID OF SUMITOMO SHOJI AMERICA, INC. YOU ATTEMPT TO DISTINGUISH THE PRESENT CASE FROM THE ONE REPORTED AT 39 COMP. GEN. 760 ON THE BASIS THAT TWO DIFFERENT INDUSTRIES ARE INVOLVED, AND YOU STATE THAT THE FACT THAT WE DECIDED THE ANTIDUMPING ACT WAS NO APPLICABLE IN THE PRIOR CASE SHOULD NOT PRECLUDE ITS APPLICATION IN THE PRESENT CASE.

REGARDING THE OPINION OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES THAT 15 U.S.C. 13A IS NOT APPLICABLE TO GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS FOR SUPPLIES, YOU DISMISS SUCH OPINION AS "UNIDENTIFIED," AND REASSERT YOUR OWN OPINION THAT THE STATUTE SHOULD APPLY IN THIS CASE.

WITH RESPECT TO THE ALLEGED UNREASONABLENESS OF THE LOW BID, YOU STATE THAT THERE IS NO QUESTION OF THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE LOW BIDDER, BUT YOU ASSERT THAT THE QUESTION IS WHETHER THE BID WAS SO UNREASONABLY LOW AS TO CONTRAVENE THE LAW AND PUBLIC POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES.

ON THE FOURTH ELEMENT OF YOUR PROTEST, YOU AGREE GENERALLY THAT COMPARISON OF DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN BIDS MUST BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF THE BID PRICES SUBMITTED TO THE GOVERNMENT, BUT YOU CONTEND THAT SECTION 3(A) OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 10582, WHICH PROVIDES THAT NOTHING IN THE ORDER SHALL AFFECT THE AUTHORITY OR RESPONSIBILITY OF AN EXECUTIVE AGENCY TO REJECT ANY BID OR OFFER FOR REASONS OF THE NATIONAL INTEREST NOT DESCRIBED OR REFERRED TO IN THE ORDER, AFFORDS A BASIS FOR REJECTION OF THE LOW BID IN THIS CASE.

YOU ASK, THEREFORE, THAT THE AWARD OF THE LOW BIDDER BE SET ASIDE, THAT THE PROJECT BE READVERTISED AND THAT THE LOW BIDDER BE DISQUALIFIED FROM PARTICIPATION IN THE BIDDING UNDER THE NEW INVITATION.

AT THE OUTSET OF OUR CONSIDERATION OF YOUR PROTEST WE MUST OBSERVE THAT THE ECONOMIC EFFECT OF A PARTICULAR PROCUREMENT IS NOT A PERTINENT FACTOR TO BE CONSIDERED UNDER COMPETITIVE BIDDING PROCEDURES. 45 COMP. GEN. 59, 68 (1965). MORE SPECIFICALLY, WE STATED IN 39 COMP. GEN. 760 (1960) THAT AN ARGUMENT THAT AN AWARD TO A FOREIGN FIRM WILL WEAKEN A DOMESTIC INDUSTRY IS AN ARGUMENT OF A POLITICAL OR ECONOMIC NATURE WHICH CANNOT BE CONSIDERED BY THIS OFFICE IN THE ABSENCE OF PERTINENT STATUTORY ENACTMENTS. WE WILL EXAMINE EACH OF THE FOUR BASES OF YOUR PROTEST IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS PRINCIPLE.

WITH RESPECT TO THE APPLICABILITY OF THE ANTIDUMPING ACT, 19 U.S.C. 160- 171, THERE ARE EXPLICIT PROCEDURES SET FORTH IN THE STATUTE TO DETERMINE WHETHER DUMPING HAS TAKEN PLACE. THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY IS VESTED WITH THE POWER TO DETERMINE WHETHER A CLASS OR KIND OF FOREIGN MERCHANDISE IS BEING SOLD IN THIS COUNTRY AT LESS THAN ITS FAIR VALUE. WHEN THE SECRETARY HAS MADE SUCH A PUBLIC FINDING, HE MUST ADVISE THE UNITED STATES TARIFF COMMISSION, WHICH IN TURN MUST DETERMINE WHETHER A DOMESTIC INDUSTRY IS BEING OR IS LIKELY TO BE INJURED BY IMPORTATION OF SUCH MERCHANDISE. YOU HAVE NOT ALLEGED, NOR DOES THE RECORD SHOW THAT ANY OF THESE PROCEDURES HAVE BEEN FOLLOWED. UNTIL SUCH TIME AS THE NECESSARY FINDINGS HAVE BEEN MADE, THERE IS NO BASIS UPON WHICH THIS OFFICE COULD ADOPT YOUR CONTENTION THAT DUMPING IS INVOLVED. MOREOVER, THE PENALTY PROVIDED IN THE ACT IS THE IMPOSITION OF A SPECIAL DUMPING DUTY EQUAL TO THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SALE PRICE AND THE FOREIGN MARKET VALUE, AND THERE IS NO PROVISION IN THE ACT WHICH WOULD PERMIT CANCELLATION OF ANY CONTRACT INVOLVING THE SALE OF FOREIGN MERCHANDISE, EVEN WHEN PROVISIONS OF THE ACT ARE INVOKED.

THE OPINION OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES WHICH YOU WERE UNABLE TO IDENTIFY WAS PUBLISHED AT 38 OP. ATTY. GEN. 539 (1936) AND STATES UNEQUIVOCALLY THAT 15 U.S.C. 13A IS NOT APPLICABLE TO GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS FOR SUPPLIES. THE CONTEMPORARY CONSTRUCTION PLACED ON A STATUTE UNDER WHICH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ACTS IS GENERALLY ACCORDED GREAT WEIGHT AND WILL NOT BE DISTURBED EXCEPT FOR COGENT REASONS. 7 AM. JUR. 2ND, ATTORNEY GENERAL PARA. 26; FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF ANAMOOSE V. U.S; 206 F. 374 (1913). WE THINK THE FOREGOING PRINCIPLE IS EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO THE PRESENT CASE. SINCE YOU HAVE CITED NO PRECEDENT IN SUPPORT OF YOUR BELIEF THAT THIS STATUTE IS APPLICABLE, YOU HAVE PROVIDED NO COGENT REASON WHY THE CONTRACTING AGENCY OR THIS OFFICE SHOULD DISREGARD THE OPINION OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL THAT THE STATUTE IS NOT APPLICABLE TO GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS FOR SUPPLIES.

IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR THIRD CONTENTION, YOU STATE THAT THE MATTER AT HAND DOES NOT INVOLVE A QUESTION OF THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE LOW BIDDER BUT RATHER WHETHER THE BID IS SO LOW AS TO CONTRAVENE THE LAW AND PUBLIC POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES. THE QUESTION YOU HAVE STATED HAS BEEN RAISED BEFORE OUR OFFICE ON A NUMBER OF OCCASIONS, AND WE HAVE REPEATEDLY HELD THAT WE ARE AWARE OF NO LEGAL PRINCIPLE ON THE BASIS OF WHICH AN AWARD MAY BE PRECLUDED OR DISTURBED MERELY BECAUSE THE LOW BIDDER SUBMITTED AN UNPROFITABLE PRICE. B-173276, AUGUST 19, 1971; B 169824, JUNE 26, 1970; B -163828, JUNE 18, 1968; B-161057, MAY 5, 1967; B-158143, MARCH 4, 1966; B- 154750, NOVEMBER 17, 1964.

IN B-169824, SUPRA, WE SAID: "WE BELIEVE THAT TO PROPERLY REJECT A BID AS BEING UNREASONABLY LOW WOULD REQUIRE A DETERMINATION THAT THE BIDDER IS NOT RESPONSIBLE." IN B-173276, SUPRA, WE STATED: "IN THE EVENT INDUSTRIAL IS DETERMINED TO BE RESPONSIBLE, WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT FIRM CAN BE LEGALLY DENIED THE CONTRACT MERELY BECAUSE PERFORMANCE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONTRACT TERMS WILL RESULT IN A FINANCIAL LOSS TO THE CONTRACTOR." VIEW THEREOF, AND SINCE THERE IS NO QUESTION OF THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE LOW BIDDER IN THIS CASE, IT IS OUR OPINION YOUR ALLEGATION THAT SUMITOMO SHOJI'S BID IS UNREASONABLY LOW BY REASON OF BEING BELOW COST (EVEN IF WE ASSUME, ARGUENDO, THAT YOUR ALLEGATION IS TRUE) PRESENTS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR DISTURBING THE AWARD TO THAT FIRM.

YOUR FINAL ARGUMENT CONCEDES THAT COMPARISONS OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC PRICES FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE BUY AMERICAN ACT ARE NORMALLY MADE ON THE BASIS OF THE BID PRICES SUBMITTED TO THE GOVERNMENT, BUT YOU CONTEND THAT SECTION 3(A) OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 10582 AFFORDS A BASIS FOR REJECTION OF THE LOW BID. THAT SECTION STATES:

"NOTHING IN THIS ORDER SHALL AFFECT THE AUTHORITY OR RESPONSIBILITY OF AN EXECUTIVE AGENCY:

"(A) TO REJECT ANY BID OR OFFER FOR REASONS OF THE NATIONAL INTEREST NOT DESCRIBED OR REFERRED TO IN THIS ORDER."

IN 42 COMP. GEN. 608 (1963), WE HELD THAT SECTION 3(A) DID NOT CONFER UPON EXECUTIVE AGENCIES ANY NEW OR ADDITIONAL AUTHORITY TO REJECT ANY BID FOR REASONS OF NATIONAL INTEREST AND, IN THE ABSENCE OF PREEXISTING AUTHORITY, RELIANCE ON SECTION 3(A) AS THE SOLE BASIS FOR REJECTING A BID WAS ERRONEOUS. SEE ALSO B-156082, MAY 1, 1967, WHEREIN WE REPEATED THE SAME OBSERVATION IN CONNECTION WITH A COMPARISON OF DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN BIDS FOR LEASING MOTOR VEHICLES. WE THINK THE FOREGOING IS EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO THE PRESENT CASE, AND SINCE YOU HAVE CITED NO APPLICABLE STATUTES OR REGULATIONS WHICH WOULD AFFORD A BASIS FOR REJECTING THE LOW BID IN THE PRESENT CASE, WE MUST CONCLUDE THAT SECTION 3(A) OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER DOES NOT OF ITSELF CONSTITUTE A BASIS FOR SUCH REJECTION.

ALL FOUR OF THE BASES OF YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE LOW FOREIGN BID SHOULD HAVE BEEN REJECTED RELATE TO ITEM 10. HOWEVER, NO SEPARATE AWARD FOR THIS ITEM WAS CONTEMPLATED IN THIS PROCUREMENT. FURNISHING THE SUBMARINE CABLE UNDER ITEM 10 WAS ONLY ONE OF TEN ITEMS BID UPON, AND THE SOLICITATION PROVIDES ON PAGE 15 THAT AWARD WILL BE MADE ON THE LOW EVALUATED OFFER FOR THE ENTIRE PROJECT. EXCLUDING ITEM 10, SUMITOMO SHOJI'S BID FOR THE REMAINING NINE ITEMS IS $561,871, WHILE AMELCO'S BID FOR THE SAME ITEMS IS $771,720. MOREOVER, THE BID OF SUMITOMO SHOJI SHOWS THAT THE BULK OF THESE REMAINING ITEMS, OR 48.48 PERCENT OF ITS TOTAL BID, WILL BE SUBCONTRACTED TO DOMESTIC FIRMS, AND NO EVALUATING DIFFERENTIAL IS APPLICABLE TO SUCH ITEMS BY THE TERMS OF THE INVITATION AND APPLICABLE LAW. IN VIEW THEREOF, AND SINCE YOUR SUCCESS IN OBTAINING A SUBCONTRACT TO FURNISH THE CABLE IS DEPENDENT UPON AMELCO'S SUBMISSION OF THE LOW EVALUATED BID FOR THE ENTIRE PROJECT, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT YOUR FIRM WOULD NOT BE IN A POSITION TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS PROJECT, EVEN IF SUMITOMO SHOJI'S PRICE FOR ITEM 10 HAD BEEN $1,600,000, THE SAME AS YOUR PRICE FOR ITEM 10. IN SUCH CASE, THE 12 PERCENT EVALUATING DIFFERENTIAL PROVIDED IF A DOMESTIC PRODUCER IS IN A LABOR SURPLUS AREA WOULD BE $192,000. TOGETHER WITH THE SPECIAL EVALUATING DIFFERENTIAL OF $8,000 TO COVER THE COST OF FOREIGN INSPECTION, THE TOTAL EVALUATION DIFFERENTIAL WOULD BE $200,000. THIS TOTAL DIFFERENTIAL WOULD STILL BE INSUFFICIENT TO OVERCOME AMELCO'S PRICE DISADVANTAGE OF $209,849 ON THOSE ITEMS TO BE PERFORMED BY DOMESTIC FIRMS. FOR THE REASONS STATED, WE FIND NO LEGAL BASIS FOR A CONCLUSION THAT THE CONTRACTING AGENCY ERRED IN ITS EVALUATION OF BIDS OR ITS CONTRACT AWARD ACTION, IN THIS PROCUREMENT. ACCORDINGLY, YOUR PROTEST IS DENIED.