Costa Rica noted in its application that its current government procurement framework is based on open competition, transparency and non-discrimination. It also stressed that, as a future GPA party, it would contribute positively to the Committee on Government Procurement. The Costa Rica Government is currently preparing the technical documents required by the Committee as part of the accession process.
An observer to the Committee since 2015, Costa Rica would be the first WTO member from Central America to join the GPA 2012. The Chair of the Committee on Government Procurement, Martin Zbinden (Switzerland), said: “Costa Rica's application will undoubtedly be welcomed by GPA parties. I warmly congratulate its representatives on taking this initiative and, along with the GPA parties, look forward to working closely with Costa Rica on advancing its accession to the GPA 2012. This confirms that the GPA 2012 is a modern and flexible trade agreement that can assist WTO member governments in all parts of the world in delivering benefits to their economies, government procurement entities and citizens.”
The GPA 2012 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. 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 Gateway), 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.
Currently, 48 WTO members (including the 27 member states of the European Union and the United Kingdom) are bound by the Agreement.
The GPA 2012 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.
More information on the GPA can be found here.