The revised WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) will come into force on 6 April 2014. This follows confirmation by the Chairman of the WTO Committee on Government Procurement, Bruce Christie of Canada, that the threshold of acceptances by two-thirds of the Parties, which is required for the revised Agreement to take effect, had recently been met.
The ten Parties that have, to date, accepted the Protocol to amend the Agreement are, in the order in which they have accepted it, Liechtenstein; Norway; Canada; Chinese Taipei; the United States; Hong Kong, China; the European Union; Iceland; Singapore and Israel.
Chairman Christie said that the prompt bringing into force of the revised agreement “shows the Parties’ firm commitment to the Agreement and augurs well for its future as an increasingly important element of the framework for global trade.”
The GPA commits participants to certain core disciplines regarding transparency, competition, and good governance, covering the procurement of goods, services, and capital infrastructure by public authorities. The aim of the Agreement is to open up, as much as possible, government procurement markets to international competition and to help eradicate corruption in this sector.
The 2011 version of the pact adds new entities to its coverage, such as government ministries and agencies. The agreed-upon revisions also bring more services and goods into the Agreement. In addition, new and simpler rules on transparency and due process - designed to stymie corruption or protectionism - are included.
The revised GPA provides gains in market access for businesses that have been estimated to be US$80-100 billion, in addition to the US$500 billion already covered by the existing deal. In addition to the 43 WTO Members that already participate in the GPA, ten other WTO Members are in the process of negotiating accession to it.