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, visit the WTO GPA webpage.
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 GPA 2012
The market access opportunities available under the GPA 2012 are estimated to be worth more than US$ 1.7 trillion annually.
Procurement statistics notified by GPA Parties' are available on the WTO GPA Webpage.
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 21 Parties, which together cover 48 WTO Members (the European Union and its 27 member States are counting as one Party). This includes six new Parties whose respective accessions became effective after the entry into force of the GPA 2012.
A number of additional WTO Members are observers to 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.