Topics handled by WTO committees and agreements
Issues covered by the WTO’s committees and agreements

The plurilateral Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA)

The Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) is to date the only legally binding agreement in the WTO focusing on the subject of government procurement. It is a plurilateral treaty administered by a Committee on Government Procurement, which includes the WTO Members that are Parties to the GPA, and thus have rights and obligations under the Agreement.

Its present version was negotiated in parallel with the Uruguay Round in 1994, and entered into force on 1 January 1996. On 15 December 2011, negotiators reached a historic agreement on the outcomes of the re-negotiation of the 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 (GPA/113).

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What is the Government Procurement Agreement?

Brief introduction (in “Understanding the WTO”, the guide to the WTO)

  

Overview 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 Appendices.

The Agreement 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 Appendix I 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 Parties and 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 coverage offer.

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 (GPA/35) and agreed on an indicative time-frame for accession negotiations and arrangements for reporting on the progress of work (GPA/W/109/Rev.2).

Pursuant to Articles V and 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. The 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

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