The Agreement in brief
The WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) is the pre-eminent international instrument regulating the conduct of international trade in government procurement markets. It aims to ensure fair, transparent and non-discriminatory conditions of competition for purchases of goods, services and construction services by the public entities covered by the Agreement. It also serves broader purposes of promoting good governance, the efficient and effective management of public resources, and the attainment of best value for money in national procurement systems.
For more information, see the brochure entitled: GPA: Opening markets and promoting good governance or visit the WTO GPA webpage.
The GPA renegotiation
Recently, the Agreement has been renegotiated. The revised Agreement entered into force on April 6 2014 and is now in force for all but one of the Parties, Switzerland. It incorporates a number of significant improvements, including:
- a revised and streamlined text with greater flexibility;
- new standards with regard to e-procurement tools;
- improved provisions on special and differential treatment (i.e. transitional measures) for developing countries; and
- expanded market access opportunities.
The GPA main principles and elements
The GPA is a binding international treaty based on the principles of non-discrimination, transparency and procedural fairness. These three principles are reflected in the following main elements of the Agreement's text:
- national treatment and non-discrimination — for covered procurement.
- minimum standards regarding national procurement procedures - these provisions codify recognized international best practices in the area of government procurement
- transparency of procurement-related information.
Market Access Opportunities under the Revised GPA
According to estimates made by the WTO Secretariat, the revised GPA has expanded the market access opportunities under the Agreement by US$ 80-100 billion annually, bringing the total coverage of the Agreement to US$ 1.7 trillion annually.
GPA Parties and acceding candidates
The GPA is a plurilateral agreement, which means it is binding only on those WTO Members who are party to it and have therefore accepted to be bound by it. At present, it has 18 Parties, which together cover 46 WTO Members. This includes three new Parties whose respective accessions became effective in the last two year.
|European Union, including its 28 member States||Liechtenstein||Switzerland|
|Hong Kong, China||Montenegro||Chinese Taipei|
|Iceland||the Netherlands w.r.t. Aruba||Ukraine|
|Israel||New Zealand||United States|
Accession approved (not yet in force)
One WTO member (Moldova) completed its GPA accession negotiations in 2015 and will become a full Party on 14 July 2016.
WTO Members currently in the process of acceding to the GPA
|Albania||the Kyrgyz Republic|
|China||the Russian Federation|
WTO Members with GPA accession commitments that have yet to initiate their accessions
|the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia||Seychelles|
A number of additional WTO Members are also observers on the Committee on Government Procurement, the administering body of the Agreement. For more information on the current list of Parties and observers to the Agreement, click here.
Overview of GPA coverage
The GPA does not automatically apply to all government procurement of the Parties. Rather, it only applies to procurement of goods, services, or any combination thereof, as specified in each Party's schedules to the Agreement (i.e., Annexes to Appendix I). These comprise:
- Annex 1, the central government entities whose procurement is covered by the Agreement;
- Annex 2, the sub-central government entities whose procurement is covered by the Agreement;
- Annex 3, all other entities whose procurement is covered by the Agreement;
- Annex 4, the goods covered by the Agreement;
- Annex 5, the services, other than construction services, covered by the Agreement;
- Annex 6, the construction services covered by the Agreement; and
- Annex 7, any General Notes.
The Annexes also specify the threshold values above which individual procurements are subject to the GPA disciplines. For more information on the structure of the Appendix I to the Agreement, click here.