Departments shall conduct procurements in a manner that prohibits the use of statutory or administratively imposed in-State or local geographical preferences in the evaluation of bids or proposals, except in those cases where applicable Federal statutes expressly mandate or encourage geographic preference. This does not preempt State licensing laws. However, geographic location may be a selection criterion in procurements for architectural and engineering (A&E) services, provided its application leaves an appropriate number of qualified firms, given the nature and size of the project, to compete for the contract.