GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT

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Brazil's application for GPA accession

Brazil is currently preparing its initial market access offer and compiling information about its government procurement legislation, Mr Moretti reported to the Committee via videoconference. This will allow negotiations to start with other GPA parties. “Brazil's application to the GPA is fully in line with its objectives of deeper and wider integration into the world economy and improved public governance,” Mr Moretti said.

Brazil submitted its request to start negotiations on joining the GPA on 18 May. It is the first Latin American country seeking to become a party to the GPA. “This is a very significant and positive step, which is likely to draw considerable attention to and generate interest in the negotiation of our accession,” Mr Moretti noted. Brazil's accession process will help strengthen the GPA by further demonstrating that the Agreement is open for all WTO members to join, he added.

GPA parties welcomed Brazil's ambition to adhere to international standards in government procurement and noted the important economic opportunities that its large government procurement market offers. They highlighted that Brazil's application shows the mutual benefits of market opening, competition and non-discrimination. They also said it will help to support the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and achieve high-quality public services. It was also stressed that successful accession for Brazil would contribute greatly to diversifying the GPA membership.

Observer status for Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire is the third African country to become an observer to the Committee, after Cameroon and the Seychelles. “This is a very positive and encouraging development,” the Chair of the GPA Committee, Carlos Vanderloo of Canada, said. “I hope that other economies in Africa will follow Côte d'Ivoire's example.”

Currently, 35 WTO members, one observer to the WTO (Belarus) and four international organizations are observers to the Committee on Government Procurement. Twelve WTO members with GPA observer status are also in the process of acceding to the Agreement.

The Côte d'Ivoire delegation noted recent improvements in the country's government procurement legislation. The delegation also said that being an observer to the Committee will encourage more transparent and efficient procurement procedures in Côte d'Ivoire and will help attract foreign direct investment. The Chair congratulated the Côte d'Ivoire delegation on all the reforms already undertaken as well as those still under way. He said that the Committee will follow with interest the next developments.

China's accession to the GPA

The Committee discussed an update by China regarding its checklist of issues, which allows GPA parties to review the country's government procurement legislation. The update was provided to accelerate its accession and to reflect its current legislation, the Chinese delegation said. China is looking to promote fair competition, openness, transparency, impartiality and integrity in its government procurement system, it said. China also emphasized that it would further adjust its legislation to bring it in line with GPA standards. The Committee’s Chair encouraged China and GPA parties to engage bilaterally before the next meeting in October.

Next meeting

The next meetings of the GPA Committee are currently scheduled for the week of 7 October.

Background

The GPA is a plurilateral WTO agreement, meaning that not all WTO members are parties to the Agreement. It is open to all WTO members but is binding only for those members that have joined it. Forty-eight WTO members (including the 27 member states of the European Union and the United Kingdom) are bound by the Agreement. Australia is the most recent WTO member to have acceded to the Agreement, in 2019. The parties and observers to the GPA can be found here.

Each applicant's terms of participation are negotiated with GPA parties. These terms are set out in its respective schedule (available from the e-GPA portal), which defines the party's commitments with respect to:

  • the procuring entities whose procurement processes will be open to foreign bidders
  • the goods, services and construction services open to foreign competition
  • the threshold values above which procurement activities will be open to foreign competition
  • exceptions to the coverage.

The GPA aims to open up government procurement markets to foreign competition in a reciprocal manner and to the extent agreed between GPA parties. It also aims to make government procurement more transparent and to promote good governance. Reciprocal market opening assists GPA parties in purchasing goods and services that offer the best value for their money. The Agreement provides legal guarantees of non-discrimination for the goods, services and suppliers of GPA parties in covered procurement activities, which are worth an estimated USD 1.7 trillion annually.

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