The revised Agreement will enter into force when it is ratified by two thirds of the 15 parties. To date, seven parties have ratified: Liechtenstein, Norway, Canada, Chinese Taipei, the United States, Hong Kong-China and the European Union. In the meeting today, several other parties indicated that they would submit their acceptances in the coming weeks, with the result that the entry into force is expected during the first quarter of 2014. The Ministerial declaration also welcomed the steps that some WTO members are taking to accede to the Agreement, in particular New Zealand, Montenegro and China.
Addressing the meeting, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said that government procurement “is a very important element of overall economic activity, representing 15-20 per cent of GDP worldwide”. He added that “by promoting the efficient provision of infrastructure and public services such as health and education, government procurement has a direct impact not only on the state of national treasuries but also on the well-being of citizens. Its significance as an element of international trade is also increasing, due in part to the impact of the GPA and related bilateral and regional arrangements”.
The Agreement is a plurilateral treaty that commits members to certain core disciplines regarding transparency, competition and good governance in the procurement sector. It covers the procurement of goods, services and capital infrastructure by public authorities.
The aim of the Agreement is to open up, as much as possible, government procurement markets to international competition. It aims at making government procurement more transparent, and provides legal guarantees of non-discrimination with regard to the products, services or suppliers of any party to the Agreement. At the same time, it provides important flexibilities for developing country parties to manage their transition to a more internationally competitive government procurement regime.