Director-General Lamy congratulated Liechtenstein for being the first of the GPA Parties register its acceptance of the Protocol of Amendment.

“By having completed its ratification process, Liechtenstein is showing the way. Others should now quickly follow so that the revised Agreement can enter into force by the Bali Ministerial Conference,” Mr. Lamy said. He added “the revised Agreement on Government Procurement means $80-100 billion in new market access opportunities. It also means better value for money for its participants”.

The Protocol of Amendment will come into effect upon its acceptance by two thirds of the Parties to the Agreement.  The Chairman of the Committee on Government Procurement, Mr. Bruce Christie (Canada), has urged the Parties to bring the amended text into effect in time to be celebrated at the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Bali, in December of 2013.

Mr. Lamy added that entry into force of the amendment was also important in that it would enable work to begin on the agreed Future Work Programmes of the Committee on Government Procurement which will deal with such topical issues as access to procurement markets by small and medium-sized enterprises; sustainability in public procurement; and improvement of the statistics that are available relating to Parties’ operations under the Agreement.

The GPA, a plurilateral agreement within the WTO system, provides a framework for the progressive liberalization of markets for the procurement of goods, services and construction services (public works).  It is built around the principles of non-discrimination, transparency and procedural fairness, and embodies a set of best practices in public procurement based on the experience of the participating governments.  The existing version of the Agreement was developed in parallel to the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations.  The revised text of the Agreement and expansion of related market access commitments attached to the Protocol were negotiated by the Parties over a period of more than ten years.  The negotiation reached a political conclusion in 2011, prior to the formal adoption of the results of the negotiations in March 2012.

Currently, the GPA covers 42 WTO Members.  A further ten WTO Members have applied for accession to the Agreement (Albania, China, Georgia, Jordan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, New Zealand, Oman, Panama and Ukraine). Seven other Members have commitments to join the GPA, as part of their WTO accession protocols: Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mongolia, Montenegro, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and Tajikistan.  In addition, the GPA is used extensively as a template for government procurement chapters in bilateral or regional trade agreements, including with non-Parties to the Agreement.  The coming into force of the Protocol of Amendment is expected to encourage additional interest in accession to the Agreement by other WTO Members, in part based on the new flexibilities and transitional measures that it incorporates.

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