Kazakhstan's WTO membership terms, which WTO members approved in 2015, included a commitment to start negotiating its accession to the GPA within four years of joining the Organization. Kazakhstan was granted observer status by the GPA parties in October 2016. The negotiations will take place based on a market access offer to be provided by Kazakhstan and its replies to a checklist of issues regarding its government procurement legislation. Kazakhstan will host the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference in June 2020.
Chairman Vanderloo said Kazakhstan's application for accession underlines the GPA's relevance for countries seeking to undertake reforms of their procurement regimes and promote the development of their trade and economy. The Chair noted that the Committee is looking forward to receiving Kazakhstan's initial market access offer and its replies to the checklist of issues in the new year.
Currently, 48 WTO members (including the European Union and its 28 member states) are bound by the Agreement. Australia is the latest member to have acceded to the Agreement earlier in 2019. The GPA aims to open up, in a reciprocal manner and to the extent agreed between GPA parties, government procurement markets to foreign competition, and make government procurement more transparent. It provides legal guarantees of non-discrimination for the products, services and suppliers of GPA parties in covered procurement activities, which are currently worth an estimated USD 1.7 trillion annually.