Beginning at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 9 October, the Parties and Observers to the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) held a series of informal plurilateral sessions. The following items were addressed:
The bringing into effect of the revised Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA):
- A roundtable update was held on progress achieved in regard to Parties respective domestic consultation/ratification processes concerning the revised Agreement, and submission of their instruments of acceptance concerning the Protocol of Amendment to the Agreement that was adopted on 30 March 2012. At the conclusion of the session, the Chairman stated that he remained cautiously optimistic that sufficient acceptances would be received in order to recognize the coming into force of the revised Agreement at the time of the coming Ninth Ministerial Conference, and Parties agreed to continue working to achieve that result.
- Provisional plans were discussed for a possible Ministerial-level meeting of the Committee at the time of the Ninth Ministerial Conference, provided that sufficient acceptances are received in advance of the conference.
Accessions to the Agreement:
In the course of the discussion:
- A discussion was held on New Zealand's accession to the Agreement, with all Parties expressing appreciation for the improvements contained in New Zealand's recent revised offer and the related explanations that it had provided regarding the structure of its procurement system, while also asking for further improvements and indicating that time would be needed to work toward a conclusion. The Chairman asked that work be intensified in the hope that New Zealand's accession could be concluded in time for the Ninth Ministerial Conference.
- A first discussion was held on Montenegro's accession to the Agreement. Montenegro indicated that recent reforms to its procurement system have aligned it effectively with both relevant EU guidelines and the GPA. It made clear that it remained committed to the goal of acceding to the GPA before the end of the year, as called for in its WTO accession protocol. Parties and the Chairman welcomed Montenegro's application and appreciated its intention to fulfill its commitment.
- China affirmed that it would provide an improved coverage offer before the end of the year and, if at all possible, in advance of the Committee's last meeting for the year. Parties welcomed this initiative, while reiterating their hopes for significant improvements in China's offer.
- Ukraine updated the Committee on work under way in capital on its accession, and indicated that an improved offer would be submitted in mid-December. Parties welcomed this initiative. A written update was also received concerning work under way regarding Moldova's accession, for which appreciation was expressed.
Draft decisions on indicative criteria concerning the elimination of government influence over GPA-listed entities and related arbitration procedures:
- Discussions were held on the Committee's draft decisions on the above-noted matters, based on written inputs received from several delegations and related informal group discussions.
- The Secretariat updated the Committee on work under way on the so-called e-GPA project, to create an integrated web portal incorporating Parties' schedules and notifications, for use as a market access information tool for businesses and governments. Enthusiastic support was expressed by Parties for the project.
- Further informal sessions have been scheduled for the week beginning 18 November, with details to be confirmed. The Committee's end-of-year formal meeting would be held back-to-back with the informal sessions.
- A draft of the Committee's annual report will be circulated by the middle of next week, for approval via written procedure.