On this page:
- Article Scope and Coverage
- Article II Valuation of Contracts
- Article III National Treatment and Non-discrimination
- Article IV Rules of Origin
- Article V Special and Differential Treatment for Developing Countries
- Article VI Technical Specifications
- Article VIITendering Procedures
- Article VIII Qualification of Suppliers
- Article IX Invitation to Participate Regarding Intended Procurement
- Article X Selection Procedures
- Article XI Time-limits for Tendering and Delivery
- Article XII Tender Documentation
- Article XIII Submission, Receipt and Opening of Tenders and Awarding of Contracts
- Article XIV Negotiation
- Article XV Limited Tendering
- Article XVI Offsets
- Article XVII Transparency
- Article XVIII Information and Review as Regards Obligations of Entities
- Article XIX Information and Review as Regards Obligations of Parties
- Article XX Challenge Procedures
- Article XXI Institutions
- Article XXIIConsultations and Dispute Settlement
- Article XXIII Exceptions to the Agreement
- Article XXIV Final Provisions
(a) tenders shall normally be submitted in writing directly or by
mail. If tenders by telex, telegram or facsimile are permitted, the
tender made thereby must include all the information necessary for the
evaluation of the tender, in particular the definitive price proposed
by the tenderer and a statement that the tenderer agrees to all the
terms, conditions and provisions of the invitation to tender. The
tender must be confirmed promptly by letter or by the despatch of a
signed copy of the telex, telegram or facsimile. Tenders presented by
telephone shall not be permitted. The content of the telex, telegram
or facsimile shall prevail where there is a difference or conflict
between that content and any documentation received after the
(b) the opportunities that may be given to tenderers to correct unintentional errors of form between the opening of tenders and the awarding of the contract shall not be permitted to give rise to any discriminatory practice.
Receipt of Tenders
2. A supplier shall not be penalized if a tender is received in the office designated in the tender documentation after the time specified because of delay due solely to mishandling on the part of the entity. Tenders may also be considered in other exceptional circumstances if the procedures of the entity concerned so provide.
Opening of Tenders
3. All tenders solicited under open or selective procedures by entities shall be received and opened under procedures and conditions guaranteeing the regularity of the openings. The receipt and opening of tenders shall also be consistent with the national treatment and non-discrimination provisions of this Agreement. Information on the opening of tenders shall remain with the entity concerned at the disposal of the government authorities responsible for the entity in order that it may be used if required under the procedures of Articles XVIII, XIX, XX and XXII.
Award of Contracts
4. (a) To be considered for award, a tender must, at the time of opening, conform to the essential requirements of the notices or tender documentation and be from a supplier which complies with the conditions for participation. If an entity has received a tender abnormally lower than other tenders submitted, it may enquire with the tenderer to ensure that it can comply with the conditions of participation and be capable of fulfilling the terms of the contract.
(b) Unless in the public interest an entity decides not to issue
the contract, the entity shall make the award to the tenderer who has
been determined to be fully capable of undertaking the contract and
whose tender, whether for domestic products or services, or products
or services of other Parties, is either the lowest tender or the
tender which in terms of the specific evaluation criteria set forth in
the notices or tender documentation is determined to be the most
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(a) in the context of procurements in which they have indicated
such intent, namely in the notice referred to in paragraph 2 of
Article IX (the invitation to suppliers to participate in the
procedure for the proposed procurement); or
3. Entities shall treat tenders in confidence. In particular, they shall not provide information intended to assist particular participants to bring their tenders up to the level of other participants.back to top
1. The provisions of Articles VII through XIV governing open and selective tendering procedures need not apply in the following conditions, provided that limited tendering is not used with a view to avoiding maximum possible competition or in a manner which would constitute a means of discrimination among suppliers of other Parties or protection to domestic producers or suppliers:
(a) in the absence of tenders in response to an open or selective
tender, or when the tenders submitted have been collusive, or not in
conformity with the essential requirements in the tender, or from
suppliers who do not comply with the conditions for participation
provided for in accordance with this Agreement, on condition, however,
that the requirements of the initial tender are not substantially
modified in the contract as awarded;
(b) when, for works of art or for reasons connected with protection
of exclusive rights, such as patents or copyrights, or in the absence
of competition for technical reasons, the products or services can be
supplied only by a particular supplier and no reasonable alternative
or substitute exists;
(c) in so far as is strictly necessary when, for reasons of extreme
urgency brought about by events unforeseeable by the entity, the
products or services could not be obtained in time by means of open or
selective tendering procedures;
(d) for additional deliveries by the original supplier which are
intended either as parts replacement for existing supplies, or
installations, or as the extension of existing supplies, services, or
installations where a change of supplier would compel the entity to
procure equipment or services not meeting requirements of
interchangeability with already existing equipment or services(5);
(e) when an entity procures prototypes or a first product or
service which are developed at its request in the course of, and for,
a particular contract for research, experiment, study or original
development. When such contracts have been fulfilled, subsequent
procurements of products or services shall be subject to Articles VII
(f) when additional construction services which were not included
in the initial contract but which were within the objectives of the
original tender documentation have, through unforeseeable
circumstances, become necessary to complete the construction services
described therein, and the entity needs to award contracts for the
additional construction services to the contractor carrying out the
construction services concerned since the separation of the additional
construction services from the initial contract would be difficult for
technical or economic reasons and cause significant inconvenience to
the entity. However, the total value of contracts awarded for the
additional construction services may not exceed 50 per cent of
the amount of the main contract;
(g) for new construction services consisting of the repetition of
similar construction services which conform to a basic project for
which an initial contract was awarded in accordance with Articles VII
through XIV and for which the entity has indicated in the notice of
intended procurement concerning the initial construction service, that
limited tendering procedures might be used in awarding contracts for
such new construction services;
(i) for purchases made under exceptionally advantageous conditions
which only arise in the very short term. This provision is intended to
cover unusual disposals by firms which are not normally suppliers, or
disposal of assets of businesses in liquidation or receivership. It is
not intended to cover routine purchases from regular suppliers;
(j) in the case of contracts awarded to the winner of a design contest provided that the contest has been organized in a manner which is consistent with the principles of this Agreement, notably as regards the publication, in the sense of Article IX, of an invitation to suitably qualified suppliers, to participate in such a contest which shall be judged by an independent jury with a view to design contracts being awarded to the winners.
2. Entities shall prepare a report in writing on each contract awarded under the provisions of paragraph 1. Each report shall contain the name of the procuring entity, value and kind of goods or services procured, country of origin, and a statement of the conditions in this Article which prevailed. This report shall remain with the entities concerned at the disposal of the government authorities responsible for the entity in order that it may be used if required under the procedures of Articles XVIII, XIX, XX and XXII.back to top
1. Entities shall not, in the qualification and selection of suppliers, products or services, or in the evaluation of tenders and award of contracts, impose, seek or consider offsets.(7)
2. Nevertheless, having regard to general policy considerations, including those relating to development, a developing country may at the time of accession negotiate conditions for the use of offsets, such as requirements for the incorporation of domestic content. Such requirements shall be used only for qualification to participate in the procurement process and not as criteria for awarding contracts. Conditions shall be objective, clearly defined and non-discriminatory. They shall be set forth in the country’s Appendix I and may include precise limitations on the imposition of offsets in any contract subject to this Agreement. The existence of such conditions shall be notified to the Committee and included in the notice of intended procurement and other documentation.back to top
1. Each Party shall encourage entities to indicate the terms and conditions, including any deviations from competitive tendering procedures or access to challenge procedures, under which tenders will be entertained from suppliers situated in countries not Parties to this Agreement but which, with a view to creating transparency in their own contract awards, nevertheless:
(b) publish the procurement notices referred to in Article IX,
including, in the version of the notice referred to in paragraph 8
of Article IX (summary of the notice of intended procurement)
which is published in an official language of the WTO, an indication
of the terms and conditions under which tenders shall be entertained
from suppliers situated in countries Parties to this Agreement;
(c) are willing to ensure that their procurement regulations shall not normally change during a procurement and, in the event that such change proves unavoidable, to ensure the availability of a satisfactory means of redress.
2. Governments not Parties to the Agreement which comply with the conditions specified in paragraphs 1(a) through 1(c), shall be entitled if they so inform the Parties to participate in the Committee as observers.back to top
1. Entities shall publish a notice in the appropriate publication listed in Appendix II not later than 72 days after the award of each contract under Articles XIII through XV. These notices shall contain:
(c) to an unsuccessful tenderer, pertinent information concerning the reasons why its tender was not selected and on the characteristics and relative advantages of the tender selected as well as the name of the winning tenderer.
4. However, entities may decide that certain information on the contract award, contained in paragraphs 1 and 2(c), be withheld where release of such information would impede law enforcement or otherwise be contrary to the public interest or would prejudice the legitimate commercial interest of particular enterprises, public or private, or might prejudice fair competition between suppliers.back to top
1. Each Party shall promptly publish any law, regulation, judicial decision, administrative ruling of general application, and any procedure (including standard contract clauses) regarding government procurement covered by this Agreement, in the appropriate publications listed in Appendix IV and in such a manner as to enable other Parties and suppliers to become acquainted with them. Each Party shall be prepared, upon request, to explain to any other Party its government procurement procedures.
2. The government of an unsuccessful tenderer which is a Party to this Agreement may seek, without prejudice to the provisions under Article XXII, such additional information on the contract award as may be necessary to ensure that the procurement was made fairly and impartially. To this end, the procuring government shall provide information on both the characteristics and relative advantages of the winning tender and the contract price. Normally this latter information may be disclosed by the government of the unsuccessful tenderer provided it exercises this right with discretion. In cases where release of this information would prejudice competition in future tenders, this information shall not be disclosed except after consultation with and agreement of the Party which gave the information to the government of the unsuccessful tenderer.
4. Confidential information provided to any Party which would impede law enforcement or otherwise be contrary to the public interest or would prejudice the legitimate commercial interest of particular enterprises, public or private, or might prejudice fair competition between suppliers shall not be revealed without formal authorization from the party providing the information.
5. Each Party shall collect and provide to the Committee on an annual basis statistics on its procurements covered by this Agreement. Such reports shall contain the following information with respect to contracts awarded by all procurement entities covered under this Agreement:
(a) for entities in Annex 1, statistics on the estimated value
of contracts awarded, both above and below the threshold value, on a
global basis and broken down by entities; for entities in Annexes 2
and 3, statistics on the estimated value of contracts awarded above
the threshold value on a global basis and broken down by categories of
(b) for entities in Annex 1, statistics on the number and
total value of contracts awarded above the threshold value, broken
down by entities and categories of products and services according to
uniform classification systems; for entities in Annexes 2 and 3,
statistics on the estimated value of contracts awarded above the
threshold value broken down by categories of entities and categories
of products and services;
(c) for entities in Annex 1, statistics, broken down by entity
and by categories of products and services, on the number and total
value of contracts awarded under each of the cases of Article XV;
for categories of entities in Annexes 2 and 3, statistics on the
total value of contracts awarded above the threshold value under each
of the cases of Article XV; and
(d) for entities in Annex 1, statistics, broken down by entities, on the number and total value of contracts awarded under derogations to the Agreement contained in the relevant Annexes; for categories of entities in Annexes 2 and 3, statistics on the total value of contracts awarded under derogations to the Agreement contained in the relevant Annexes.
To the extent that such information is available, each Party shall provide statistics on the country of origin of products and services purchased by its entities. With a view to ensuring that such statistics are comparable, the Committee shall provide guidance on methods to be used. With a view to ensuring effective monitoring of procurement covered by this Agreement, the Committee may decide unanimously to modify the requirements of subparagraphs (a) through (d) as regards the nature and the extent of statistical information to be provided and the breakdowns and classifications to be used.back to top
1. In the event of a complaint by a supplier that there has been a breach of this Agreement in the context of a procurement, each Party shall encourage the supplier to seek resolution of its complaint in consultation with the procuring entity. In such instances the procuring entity shall accord impartial and timely consideration to any such complaint, in a manner that is not prejudicial to obtaining corrective measures under the challenge system.
2. Each Party shall provide non-discriminatory, timely, transparent and effective procedures enabling suppliers to challenge alleged breaches of the Agreement arising in the context of procurements in which they have, or have had, an interest.
5. The interested supplier may be required to initiate a challenge procedure and notify the procuring entity within specified time-limits from the time when the basis of the complaint is known or reasonably should have been known, but in no case within a period of less than 10 days.
6. Challenges shall be heard by a court or by an impartial and independent review body with no interest in the outcome of the procurement and the members of which are secure from external influence during the term of appointment. A review body which is not a court shall either be subject to judicial review or shall have procedures which provide that:
(a) rapid interim measures to correct breaches of the Agreement and
to preserve commercial opportunities. Such action may result in
suspension of the procurement process. However, procedures may provide
that overriding adverse consequences for the interests concerned,
including the public interest, may be taken into account in deciding
whether such measures should be applied. In such circumstances, just
cause for not acting shall be provided in writing;
1. A Committee on Government Procurement composed of representatives from each of the Parties shall be established. This Committee shall elect its own Chairman and Vice-Chairman and shall meet as necessary but not less than once a year for the purpose of affording Parties the opportunity to consult on any matters relating to the operation of this Agreement or the furtherance of its objectives, and to carry out such other responsibilities as may be assigned to it by the Parties.back to top
1. The provisions of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes under the WTO Agreement (hereinafter referred to as the “Dispute Settlement Understanding”) shall be applicable except as otherwise specifically provided below.
2. If any Party considers that any benefit accruing to it, directly or indirectly, under this Agreement is being nullified or impaired, or that the attainment of any objective of this Agreement is being impeded as the result of the failure of another Party or Parties to carry out its obligations under this Agreement, or the application by another Party or Parties of any measure, whether or not it conflicts with the provisions of this Agreement, it may with a view to reaching a mutually satisfactory resolution of the matter, make written representations or proposals to the other Party or Parties which it considers to be concerned. Such action shall be promptly notified to the Dispute Settlement Body established under the Dispute Settlement Understanding (hereinafter referred to as “DSB”), as specified below. Any Party thus approached shall give sympathetic consideration to the representations or proposals made to it.
3. The DSB shall have the authority to establish panels, adopt panel and Appellate Body reports, make recommendations or give rulings on the matter, maintain surveillance of implementation of rulings and recommendations, and authorize suspension of concessions and other obligations under this Agreement or consultations regarding remedies when withdrawal of measures found to be in contravention of the Agreement is not possible, provided that only Members of the WTO Party to this Agreement shall participate in decisions or actions taken by the DSB with respect to disputes under this Agreement.
“To examine, in the light of the relevant provisions of this Agreement and of (name of any other covered Agreement cited by the parties to the dispute), the matter referred to the DSB by (name of party) in document ... and to make such findings as will assist the DSB in making the recommendations or in giving the rulings provided for in this Agreement.”
In the case of a dispute in which provisions both of this Agreement and of one or more other Agreements listed in Appendix 1 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding are invoked by one of the parties to the dispute, paragraph 3 shall apply only to those parts of the panel report concerning the interpretation and application of this Agreement.
6. Every effort shall be made to accelerate the proceedings to the greatest extent possible. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs 8 and 9 of Article 12 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding, the panel shall attempt to provide its final report to the parties to the dispute not later than four months, and in case of delay not later than seven months, after the date on which the composition and terms of reference of the panel are agreed. Consequently, every effort shall be made to reduce also the periods foreseen in paragraph 1 of Article 20 and paragraph 4 of Article 21 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding by two months. Moreover, notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 5 of Article 21 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding, the panel shall attempt to issue its decision, in case of a disagreement as to the existence or consistency with a covered Agreement of measures taken to comply with the recommendations and rulings, within 60 days.
7. Notwithstanding paragraph 2 of Article 22 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding, any dispute arising under any Agreement listed in Appendix 1 to the Dispute Settlement Understanding other than this Agreement shall not result in the suspension of concessions or other obligations under this Agreement, and any dispute arising under this Agreement shall not result in the suspension of concessions or other obligations under any other Agreement listed in the said Appendix 1.back to top
1. Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed to prevent any Party from taking any action or not disclosing any information which it considers necessary for the protection of its essential security interests relating to the procurement of arms, ammunition or war materials, or to procurement indispensable for national security or for national defence purposes.
2. Subject to the requirement that such measures are not applied in a manner which would constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination between countries where the same conditions prevail or a disguised restriction on international trade, nothing in this Agreement shall be construed to prevent any Party from imposing or enforcing measures: necessary to protect public morals, order or safety, human, animal or plant life or health or intellectual property; or relating to the products or services of handicapped persons, of philanthropic institutions or of prison labour.back to top
This Agreement shall enter into force on 1 January 1996 for those governments(8) whose agreed coverage is contained in Annexes 1 through 5 of Appendix I of this Agreement and which have, by signature, accepted the Agreement on 15 April 1994 or have, by that date, signed the Agreement subject to ratification and subsequently ratified the Agreement before 1 January 1996.
Any government which is a Member of the WTO, or prior to the date of entry into force of the WTO Agreement which is a contracting party to GATT 1947, and which is not a Party to this Agreement may accede to this Agreement on terms to be agreed between that government and the Parties. Accession shall take place by deposit with the Director-General of the WTO of an instrument of accession which states the terms so agreed. The Agreement shall enter into force for an acceding government on the 30th day following the date of its accession to the Agreement.
(a) Hong Kong and Korea may delay application of the
provisions of this Agreement, except Articles XXI and XXII, to a
date not later than 1 January 1997. The commencement date of
their application of the provisions, if prior to 1 January 1997,
shall be notified to the Director-General of the WTO 30 days in
(b) During the period between the date of entry into force of this
Agreement and the date of its application by Hong Kong, the rights and
obligations between Hong Kong and all other Parties to this Agreement
which were on 15 April 1994 Parties to the Agreement on
Government Procurement done at Geneva on 12 April 1979 as
amended on 2 February 1987 (the “1988 Agreement”) shall
be governed by the substantive(9) provisions
of the 1988 Agreement, including its Annexes as modified or rectified,
which provisions are incorporated herein by reference for that purpose
and shall remain in force until 31 December 1996.
(d) Article XXII shall not enter into force until the date of
entry into force of the WTO Agreement. Until such time, the provisions
of Article VII of the 1988 Agreement shall apply to consultations
and dispute settlement under this Agreement, which provisions are
hereby incorporated in the Agreement by reference for that purpose.
These provisions shall be applied under the auspices of the Committee
under this Agreement.
(e) Prior to the date of entry into force of the WTO Agreement, references to WTO bodies shall be construed as referring to the corresponding GATT body and references to the Director-General of the WTO and to the WTO Secretariat shall be construed as references to, respectively, the Director-General to the CONTRACTING PARTIES to GATT 1947 and to the GATT Secretariat.
Reservations may not be entered in respect of any of the provisions of this Agreement.
(a) Each government accepting or acceding to this Agreement shall
ensure, not later than the date of entry into force of this Agreement
for it, the conformity of its laws, regulations and administrative
procedures, and the rules, procedures and practices applied by the
entities contained in its lists annexed hereto, with the provisions of
(a) Rectifications, transfers of an entity from one Annex to
another or, in exceptional cases, other modifications relating to Appendices I
through IV shall be notified to the Committee, along with information
as to the likely consequences of the change for the mutually agreed
coverage provided in this Agreement. If the rectifications, transfers
or other modifications are of a purely formal or minor nature, they
shall become effective provided there is no objection within 30 days.
In other cases, the Chairman of the Committee shall promptly convene a
meeting of the Committee. The Committee shall consider the proposal
and any claim for compensatory adjustments, with a view to maintaining
a balance of rights and obligations and a comparable level of mutually
agreed coverage provided in this Agreement prior to such notification.
In the event of agreement not being reached, the matter may be pursued
in accordance with the provisions contained in Article XXII.
(b) Where a Party wishes, in exercise of its rights, to withdraw an entity from Appendix I on the grounds that government control or influence over it has been effectively eliminated, that Party shall notify the Committee. Such modification shall become effective the day after the end of the following meeting of the Committee, provided that the meeting is no sooner than 30 days from the date of notification and no objection has been made. In the event of an objection, the matter may be pursued in accordance with the procedures on consultations and dispute settlement contained in Article XXII. In considering the proposed modification to Appendix I and any consequential compensatory adjustment, allowance shall be made for the market-opening effects of the removal of government control or influence.
(a) The Committee shall review annually the implementation and
operation of this Agreement taking into account the objectives
thereof. The Committee shall annually inform the General Council of
the WTO of developments during the periods covered by such reviews.
(b) Not later than the end of the third year from the date of entry
into force of this Agreement and periodically thereafter, the Parties
thereto shall undertake further negotiations, with a view to improving
this Agreement and achieving the greatest possible extension of its
coverage among all Parties on the basis of mutual reciprocity, having
regard to the provisions of Article V relating to developing
(c) Parties shall seek to avoid introducing or prolonging discriminatory measures and practices which distort open procurement and shall, in the context of negotiations under subparagraph (b), seek to eliminate those which remain on the date of entry into force of this Agreement.
With a view to ensuring that the Agreement does not constitute an unnecessary obstacle to technical progress, Parties shall consult regularly in the Committee regarding developments in the use of information technology in government procurement and shall, if necessary, negotiate modifications to the Agreement. These consultations shall in particular aim to ensure that the use of information technology promotes the aims of open, non-discriminatory and efficient government procurement through transparent procedures, that contracts covered under the Agreement are clearly identified and that all available information relating to a particular contract can be identified. When a Party intends to innovate, it shall endeavour to take into account the views expressed by other Parties regarding any potential problems.
Parties may amend this Agreement having regard, inter alia, to the experience gained in its implementation. Such an amendment, once the Parties have concurred in accordance with the procedures established by the Committee, shall not enter into force for any Party until it has been accepted by such Party.
(a) Any Party may withdraw from this Agreement. The withdrawal
shall take effect upon the expiration of 60 days from the date on
which written notice of withdrawal is received by the Director-General
of the WTO. Any Party may upon such notification request an immediate
meeting of the Committee.
(b) If a Party to this Agreement does not become a Member of the WTO within one year of the date of entry into force of the WTO Agreement or ceases to be a Member of the WTO, it shall cease to be a Party to this Agreement with effect from the same date.
This Agreement shall not apply as between any two Parties if either of the Parties, at the time either accepts or accedes to this Agreement, does not consent to such application.
The Notes, Appendices and Annexes to this Agreement constitute an integral part thereof.
This Agreement shall be serviced by the WTO Secretariat.
This Agreement shall be deposited with the Director-General of the WTO, who shall promptly furnish to each Party a certified true copy of this Agreement, of each rectification or modification thereto pursuant to paragraph 6 and of each amendment thereto pursuant to paragraph 9, and a notification of each acceptance thereof or accession thereto pursuant to paragraphs 1 and 2 and of each withdrawal therefrom pursuant to paragraph 10 of this Article.
This Agreement shall be registered in accordance with the provisions of Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.
Done at Marrakesh this fifteenth day of April one thousand nine hundred and ninety-four in a single copy, in the English, French and Spanish languages, each text being authentic, except as otherwise specified with respect to the Appendices hereto.
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The terms “country” or “countries” as used in this Agreement, including the Appendices, are to be understood to include any separate customs territory Party to this Agreement.
In the case of a separate customs territory Party to this Agreement, where an expression in this Agreement is qualified by the term “national”, such expression shall be read as pertaining to that customs territory, unless otherwise specified.
Having regard to general policy considerations relating to tied aid, including the objective of developing countries with respect to the untying of such aid, this Agreement does not apply to procurement made in furtherance of tied aid to developing countries so long as it is practised by Parties.
- 5. It is the understanding that “existing equipment” includes software to the extent that the initial procurement of the software was covered by the Agreement. Back to text
- 6. Original development of a first product or service may include limited production or supply in order to incorporate the results of field testing and to demonstrate that the product or service is suitable for production or supply in quantity to acceptable quality standards. It does not extend to quantity production or supply to establish commercial viability or to recover research and development costs. Back to text
- 7. Offsets in government procurement are measures used to encourage local development or improve the balance-of-payments accounts by means of domestic content, licensing of technology, investment requirements, counter-trade or similar requirements. Back to text
- 8. For the purpose of this Agreement, the term “government” is deemed to include the competent authorities of the European Communities. Back to text
- 9. All provisions of the 1988 Agreement except the Preamble, Article VII and Article IX other than paragraphs 5(a) and (b) and paragraph 10. Back to text
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