The World Trade Organization’s revised Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) officially entered into force on Sunday, almost two years after the protocol amending the original agreement was adopted.
The parties to the revised agreement will see gains in market access of between $80 billion and $100 billion annually for their businesses, WTO said.
The agreement’s text has been streamlined and modernized to include, for example, standards related to the use of electronic procurement tools. Other changes include a new provision related to the prevention of corruption in government procurement systems. The revised GPA also reinforces the original agreement’s intent for WTO members to conserve their natural resources and protect the environment.
Two-thirds of the parties to the revised GPA were required to accept the amendment before it could enter into force. This condition was met when Israel approved the protocol on March 7.
The revised agreement is now in force for the first 10 WTO members that have accepted the GPA amendment. They are Liechtenstein, Norway, Canada, Chinese Taipei, the United States, Hong Kong (China), the European Union, Iceland, Singapore and Israel. The revision will come into force for Japan on April 16.
“This is a very welcome achievement,” said Roberto Azevêdo, WTO’s director general, in a statement. “The revised WTO Agreement on Government Procurement will open markets and promote good governance in the participating member economies.
“The fact this has been achieved so quickly shows the importance that the parties attach to the GPA and is further evidence, after the successful Bali Package, that the WTO is back in business. The modernized text of the revised GPA and the expanded market access commitments should prompt other WTO members to consider the potential advantages of joining,” he added.