RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS: WORKING PAPERS
The Revised WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA): key design features and significance For Global Trade and Development
The WTO's plurilateral Agreement on Government Procurement (“the GPA” or “the Agreement”) is an important ongoing success story for the Organization. In March 2012, the GPA Parties completed a comprehensive revision of the Agreement, encompassing both its text and coverage (market access commitments).
The revised GPA, the negotiating processes that led to its adoption and coming into force, and the continuing gradual broadening of its membership are of therefore interest for the evolution of the international trading system.
The GPA's successful renegotiation, the continuing growth of its membership and its vitality as an instrument of public policy were not achieved through happenstance. The paper discusses a number of specific design features of the GPA that clearly facilitated the successful conclusion of the renegotiation and that, as such, may in the future be relevant to other areas of global trade liberalization. In addition to the Agreement's plurilateral nature, of particular interest are the approach taken with respect to application of the most-favored-nation (MFN) principle in the Agreement; the GPA's continuing strong emphasis on principles of reciprocity in market access concessions; and its approach to special and differential treatment for developing countries, in all of which it differs from approaches that are widely used in other WTO Agreements.Apart from the above, the GPA revision is important for the merging of trade and good governance concerns that it exemplifies. As discussed in the paper, the themes of governance and the sound management of public resources that are treated in the revised Agreement were not afterthoughts to the renegotiation; rather, they permeated the revised text and received focused attention from the Parties in their own right. As well, the GPA has direct implications for investment policy and for domestic economic reforms, and is an important tool of e-commerce. And, the revision has made possible very significant synergies between the GPA and other international instruments and activities in reducing barriers to participation and strengthening governance in public procurement markets. For all these reasons, the revised Agreement is likely to have a wider impact than meets the eye, and well merits the support and attention that it has received from the participating WTO Member governments.
Authors: Robert D. Anderson and Anna Caroline Müller
Manuscript date: January 2017
Corruption, Developing Country, E-Commerce, International Trade Agreements, MFN, Plurilateral agreements, Public Economics, Public Works, Trade Agreements.
JEL classification numbers:
F1, F5, H5, H57, H72, K2, O1, O24back to top
This is a working paper, and hence it represents research in progress. The opinions expressed in this paper are those of its author. They are not intended to represent the positions or opinions of the WTO or its members and are without prejudice to members' rights and obligations under the WTO. Any errors are attributable to the author.
Download paper in pdf format (34pages, 594KB; opens in a new window)