Digital technologies and trade
The WTO Agreement on Government Procurement 2012 (GPA 2012) recognizes the importance, and encourages the use, of electronic means for procurement. It encourages participating governments to employ e-tools in all aspects of the procurement process.
The provisions of the GPA 2012 apply to both paper and electronic forms of government procurement. Under the GPA 2012, the use of electronic tools is optional but it is encouraged.
The Agreement contains incentives for the use of e-procurement by providing greater flexibilities for GPA parties that decide to use it. For instance, it permits the reduction of minimum time periods for tendering if electronic tools are used.
Specific requirements apply where e-procurement is implemented, including the need to ensure: (i) the general availability and interoperability of IT systems and software used; (ii) the availability of mechanisms to ensure the integrity of requests for participation and tenders; and (iii) the maintenance of data to ensure the traceability of the conduct of covered procurement by electronic means. The overall objective of these requirements is to avoid barriers to international trade and competition and maintain confidence in government procurement systems.
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