WTO: 2016 NEWS ITEMS

GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT


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The portal offers improved transparency and user-friendly accessibility to relevant government procurement information, and aims to better publicize the market access opportunities (worth up to US$ 1.7 trillion annually) available under the Agreement.

The new version of the portal incorporates the following new or enhanced features:

  • an Advanced Search tool — this new tool provides access to a number of advanced features. For example, it allows the user to search and filter the entire GPA coverage database with regard to particular parties, entities, goods and services (including construction services), using keywords to extract relevant information.
  • further analysis and reporting tools with regard to the GPA thresholds — these provide user-friendly access to the GPA thresholds both in special drawing rights (SDR) and national currencies. Access to parties' notifications of thresholds in national currencies via the site is made easy.
  • additional means for the user to access information on current procurement opportunities, applicable national legislation and more links to notifications to publication media provided by parties as set out in Appendices II, III and IV of the revised GPA. 
  • a module to handle modifications to coverage — this enables the user to monitor changes in parties' coverage commitments arising from the modifications process under Article XIX, to compare different versions of coverage arising from this process, to undertake queries in the database and to generate reports. This module will also keep the e-GPA data on coverage up to date on a permanent basis, and will support parties in improving their efficiency in the administration of the Agreement

The e-GPA portal was developed by the WTO Secretariat with the support of the parties to the Agreement. It benefited from collaboration between the Intellectual Property, Government Procurement and Competition Division, the Information Technology Solutions Division and several other divisions of the Secretariat. It complements other initiatives in the Secretariat — notably the i-TIP project — aimed at creating an integrated, interactive database of trade measures across the Organization.

 

Future developments

Further improvements to the portal are envisaged, taking account of user feedback. These include a module to handle notifications of statistical data and to facilitate the access and use of such data. Work will also be undertaken to explore synergies with the GPA Committee's Work Programme.

 

Background

Government procurement accounts for about 15 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in developed and developing countries. Only a part of this is currently covered by the GPA. The aim of the Agreement is to open up as much government procurement as possible to international trade and competition, while ensuring appropriate transparency and a commitment to good governance.

The GPA is a plurilateral agreement within the framework of the WTO, meaning that not all WTO members are parties to the Agreement. Currently, it covers 47 WTO members comprising 19 parties. Other WTO members are negotiating their accession to the Agreement or have undertaken commitments to accede to it. For a list of current members and observers of the Agreement as well as those acceding or with GPA accession commitments, click here.

Recently, the GPA was revised to modernize certain aspects of its rules and to expand its scope. The revised version of the Agreement came into force in April 2014.

The schedule of each party, setting out terms of participation, contains several annexes which define the party’s commitment with respect to different dimensions of coverage. These dimensions are: the entities, goods and services covered by the Agreement; the minimum financial value thresholds of procurement contracts to which the Agreement applies; and any exceptions or other conditions attached to coverage set out in notes in each party's schedules.

By providing enhanced, user-friendly access to the GPA market access information, the e-GPA portal complements the modernization of the text in the revised Agreement.

Further information on the WTO and government procurement is available here.

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