New Zealand becomes the second WTO member to formally accede to the revised GPA, which entered into force in April 2014 following the deposit of instruments of acceptance by most existing GPA parties.
New Zealand applied for accession to the GPA in September 2012 and submitted its first market access offer later the same month. On 29 October 2014, the GPA committee approved New Zealand's accession terms.
The GPA will take effect for New Zealand in 30 days, i.e. on 12 August 2015. Montenegro, which also completed negotiations on its accession to the GPA last October, deposited its instrument of acceptance in June and will be a party to the Agreement as of tomorrow, 15 July.
The aim of the GPA is to open up, as much as possible, government procurement markets to international competition, make government procurement more transparent, and provide legal guarantees of non-discrimination with regard to the products, services or suppliers of any party to the Agreement. Membership grants New Zealand and other parties assured access to public procurement markets that have been valued worldwide at as much as $1.7 trillion annually, and whose value will grow over time.
The revised GPA provides expanded coverage through the addition of numerous government entities (ministries and agencies) to the scope of the GPA and from the inclusion of new services and other areas of public procurement.
The GPA is a plurilateral agreement, which means that it applies only to those WTO members that have agreed to be bound by it. Current parties to the GPA are Armenia; Canada; the European Union (covering its 28 member states); Hong Kong, China; Iceland; Israel; Japan; Korea; Liechtenstein; the Kingdom of the Netherlands with respect to Aruba; Norway; Singapore; Switzerland; Chinese Taipei; and the United States.
Other WTO members that have started the process of acceding to the GPA are Albania, Australia, China, Georgia, Jordan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Oman, Tajikistan and Ukraine. A further five members — the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mongolia, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and Seychelles — have provisions regarding accession to the Agreement in their respective protocols of accession to the WTO.