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.

GPA Parties

Armenia Korea, Republic of Singapore
Canada Liechtenstein Switzerland
European Union, including its 28 member States Moldova, Republic of Chinese Taipei
Hong Kong, China Montenegro Ukraine
Iceland the Netherlands w.r.t. Aruba United States
Israel New Zealand
Japan Norway

WTO Members currently in the process of acceding to the GPA

Albania the Kyrgyz Republic  
Australia Oman  
China the Russian Federation  
Georgia Tajikistan  

WTO Members with GPA accession commitments that have yet to initiate their accessions

Afghanistan Mongolia  
Kazakhstan Saudi Arabia  
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.