The revised WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA): coming into force, textual improvements, ...
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The revised WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA): coming into force, textual improvements, the new e-GPA system and future prospects Robert D. Anderson Counsellor and Team Leader for Government Procurement, World Trade Organization (WTO) * The George Washington University Law School

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And they said it couldn’t be done!

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And they said it couldn t be done

The revised WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA): coming into force, textual improvements, the new e-GPA system and future prospects

Robert D. Anderson

Counsellor and Team Leader for Government Procurement,

World Trade Organization (WTO)*

The George Washington University Law School

Washington, D.C.

May 13, 2014

* All views expressed are the presenter’s personal responsibility and should not be attributed to the WTO.


And they said it couldn t be done

And they said it couldn’t be done!

  • The revised GPA entered into force on April 6, 2014 for the first ten Parties to accept it! Those Parties were Liechtenstein, Norway, Canada, Chinese Taipei, the United States, Hong Kong (China), the European Union, Iceland, Singapore and Israel. It is also in force for an eleventh Party, Japan, as of April 16.

  • The outcome of more than a decade of negotiations. “Politically concluded” in December 2011, subject to legal scrub and formal treaty ratification process.

  • The Parties still to accept the revision are Armenia, Aruba (represented by the Netherlands), Korea and Switzerland.


A multi faceted set of outcomes

A multi-faceted set of outcomes

  • Elements of the deal:

    • Streamlined and modernized text.

    • Market access enhancement package valued at $80-100 billion annually.

    • Package of Future Work Programmes on issues such as SMEs, sustainability and improvement of statistical reporting.

  • Also, new emphasis, in the Preamble to the Agreement and in its substantive provisions, on good governance and public resource management in addition to international trade objectives.


Key improvements in the revised gpa text 1

Key improvements in the revised GPA text (1)

  • Principles of the revised text are the same as the old one (non-discrimination, transparency, procedural fairness). However, revised text incorporates:

    • A complete revision of the wording of the provisions of the Agreement with a view to making them more streamlined, easier to understand and user-friendly;

    • Updating of the text of the Agreement to take into account developments in current government procurement practice, notably the use of electronic tools;

    • Additional flexibility for Parties' procurement authorities, for example in the form of shorter notice periods when electronic tools are used. Shorter time-periods have also been allowed for procuring goods and services of types that are available on the commercial marketplace; …..


Key improvements in the revised gpa text 2

Key improvements in the revised GPA text (2)

  • More explicit recognition of the GPA's significance for good governance and the fight against corruption, including in new substantive provisions that require participating governments to carry out their GPA-covered procurements in ways that avoid conflicts of interest and prevent corrupt practices; and

  • Revised and improved transitional measures ("special and differential treatment") for developing countries that accede to the Agreement. Under the revised provisions, such measures are to be tailored to the particular needs of the individual accession candidates.


The forthcoming e gpa system a parallel development to make the agreement more accessible

The forthcoming e-GPA system: a parallel development to make the Agreement more accessible

  • The intent: use of modern technology to make more easily accessible and useable the information that Parties provide through their schedules, statistical reports and other notifications.

  • Synergizes with key thrusts of the revised Agreement itself (to encourage use of e-tools).

  • Eventually, to incorporate links to Parties’ own websites advertising commercial opportunities covered by the Agreement, in real time.

  • Hopefully, to make more visible and accessible the benefits of accession to the Agreement.


The gpa s future a progressively more universal tool of market access and good governance

The GPA’s future: a progressively more universal tool of market access and good governance?

  • Currently, covers 43 WTO Members including the EU and its 28 member States; most other developed countries (i.e. US, Canada, Japan; Norway and Switzerland); plus Hong Kong, China; Iceland; Israel; Korea; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Aruba and Armenia.

  • Ten more countries currently seeking accession (Albania, China, Georgia, Jordan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Oman, and Ukraine).

  • Five more countries have commitments to join the GPA, as part of their WTO accession protocols: the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mongolia, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Saudi Arabia.

  • India an observer (not a Party) to the Agreement since February 2010; Malaysia, Indonesia, Montenegro and Viet Nam have also recently become observers.


Some related threads for discussion

Some related threads for discussion

  • The GPA: a more central role in the global struggle for good governance?

  • Role of regional/bilateral agreements in broadening reach of the Agreement’s principles: creating possibilities for eventual multilateralization?

  • Possibilities for achieving synergies in capacity building through closer alignment of relevant global institutions (WTO, UNICITRAL, World Bank, regional development banks).


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