A revised version of an agreement among governments around the world to encourage transparency in public sector procurement will come into force by the end of March 2014.
Affirmed at the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) ninth ministerial conference in Bali, Indonesia, the revised Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) updates tender rules and market access commitments and includes a “significant extension of related market access commitments”.
The WTO Secretariat estimates that the “resulting gains in market access for the parties’ businesses” will be in the range of $80 billion (£48.9 billion) to $100 billion (£61.1 billion) annually.
So far, seven WTO members – Liechtenstein, Norway, Canada, Chinese Taipei, the US, Hong Kong-China and the European Union – have ratified the revised agreement. It will come into force once two thirds of the 15 parties to the agreement have ratified it.
The GPA, which was adopted in 2012, commits countries to core disciplines over transparency, competition and good governance in procurement.
Addressing the meeting, WTO director-general Roberto Azevêdo said: “Government procurement is a very important element of overall economic activity, representing 15-20 per cent of GDP worldwide. By promoting the efficient provision of infrastructure and public services such as health and education, government procurement has a direct impact not only on the state of national treasuries but also on the well-being of citizens.
“Its significance as an element of international trade is also increasing, due in part to the impact of the GPA and related bilateral and regional arrangements.”