What is the Government Procurement Agreement?
> Brief introduction
(in Understanding the WTO, the guide to the WTO)
of the Agreement on Government Procurement a more detailed and technical overview
Agreement back to top
The GPA is based on the principles of
openness, transparency and non-discrimination, which apply to Parties'
procurement covered by the Agreement, to the benefit of Parties and
their suppliers, goods and services. The
text of the Agreement includes
specific rules implementing those principles.
Appendices and Annexes back to top
The GPA contains four
does not automatically apply to all government procurement of the
Parties. Rather, the coverage of the Agreement is determined with regard
to each Party in
Annexes. Annexes 1-3
of that Appendix specify the central and sub-central government entities
as well as other entities, such as public utilities, that each Party has
committed to complying with the Agreement. Each Party's Appendix I
Annexes also specify the threshold value above which individual
procurements are covered by
the Agreement. As a general rule, all goods are covered by the GPA,
while Annexes 4 and 5 to Appendix I specify each Party's covered services and construction services. Appendix I also includes Notes and
General Notes qualifying the coverage accorded under the Agreement.
Appendices II-IV to the Agreement list the publications where Parties publish notices of intended procurement (Appendix II), permanent lists of qualified suppliers in the context of selective tendering (Appendix III) and applicable procurement rules and procedures (Appendix IV).
Negotiations back to top
The Agreement on Government Procurement has contained a built-in commitment to negotiations on both the text and coverage of the Agreement since its adoption in 1994.
On 15 December 2011, negotiators reached a political agreement on the outcomes of the re-negotiations of the 1994 plurilateral Agreement, based on a break-through in the negotiations on the coverage as set out in Parties’ Appendix I Annexes (i.e. the lists of government entities whose procurement is opened up). In December 2006, negotiators had already reached provisional agreement on the revision of the text of the 1994 plurilateral Agreement. This political decision was confirmed, on 30 March 2012, by the formal adoption of the Decision on the Outcomes of the Negotiations under Article XXIV:7 of the Agreement on Government Procurement.
> More information on the negotiations
Decision on the Outcomes of the Negotiations under Article XXIV:7 of the Agreement on Government Procurement.
Parties and observers back to top
The Committee on Government Procurement comprises the
observers to the Agreement.
Accession back to top
Several observers in the GPA Committee are in the process of acceding to the GPA. The
accession process starts with the submission of an application for accession and has two main aspects: the verification of the acceding Member's procurement legislation as regards compliance with the GPA, and negotiations between the acceding Member and Parties on the former's
With a view to streamlining the accession process, the Committee has adopted
a Checklist of Issues for the provision of information by applicant
governments relating to accession to the Agreement
and agreed on an indicative time-frame for accession negotiations and
arrangements for reporting on the progress of work (GPA/W/109/Rev.2).
XVI of the GPA, special and differential treatment is available for developing countries both during the accession process and following accession to the Agreement.
Disputes back to top
State-to-state disputes pursuant to the GPA
are subject to the WTO dispute settlement system. There have been
three trade disputes under the GPA. Some
earlier disputes arose under the predecessor of the GPA, the Tokyo Round Code on Government Procurement.
WTO Analytical Index compiles excerpts of decisions of WTO bodies relating to individual provisions of the GPA.
Other documents back to top
> Official documents of the Committee on Government Procurement