The two newest members of the the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) have been announced – Montenegro and New Zealand will now have guaranteed access to bidding for government contracts in 43 signatory countries.
The plurilateral agreement allows members to open their government procurement markets to each other and current procurement activities of the GPA are valued at $1.7 trillion (£1 trillion). This figure is expected to grow as more states join.
Accession to the GPA requires countries’ national procurement legislation to be compliant and for the members to agree the terms of participation. Members have negotiated the countries’ access to the GPA over the past two years.
New Zealand and Montenegro’s accessions are the first since the GPA was revised and expanded in April this year.
The accessions of Montenegro and New Zealand “highlight the growing interest in the GPA on the part of a diverse set of WTO members, and the increasing importance of the agreement as an underpinning of global trade and development”, according to WTO deputy director-general Xiaozhun Yi.
Director-general Roberto Azevêdo added: “At a time of sluggish growth across the world, such opportunities are more welcome than ever. Beyond the possible export gains, membership in the GPA also means that governments in Montenegro and New Zealand can benefit from greater competition in their own procurement markets and consequently from lower prices and a wider selection of goods and services from which to choose.”
New Zealand’s economic development minister Steven Joyce said accession will make it easier for New Zealand’s companies to export and do business with “the likes of the US government from right here in New Zealand, creating local jobs and growing New Zealand for all”.
“There’ll be no need for our top entrepreneurs and innovators to build offshore branches in order to do business. The GPA will let kiwi companies run their businesses the way they want to, rather than establish ‘work arounds’ like they have to now,” he added.