Topics handled by WTO committees and agreements
Issues covered by the WTO’s committees and agreements


Working Group on Transparency in Government Procurement

The Singapore Ministerial Conference of 1996 set up the multilateral Working Group on Transparency in Government Procurement to conduct a study on transparency in government procurement practices, taking into account national policies and, on that basis, to develop elements suitable for inclusion in an appropriate agreement.

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Introduction    back to top

Brief information about transparency in government purchases: towards multilateral rules
Links to the section on transparency in Government Procurement in the WTO Guide “Understanding the WTO”.


At the Doha Ministerial Conference, held in November 2001, Ministers recognised the case for a multilateral agreement on transparency in government procurement and agreed that negotiations would take place after the Fifth Ministerial Conference “on the basis of a decision to be taken, by explicit consensus, at that Session on modalities of negotiations”. They addressed, inter alia, an issue of particular concern to developing countries by explicitly stating that “negotiations shall be limited to the transparency aspects and therefore will not restrict the scope for countries to give preferences to domestic supplies and suppliers”.

At the Fifth Ministerial Conference, held in Cancún in September 2003, however, Members could not agree on launching negotiations. In the absence of any substantive outcome on this, as well as any of the other Doha Development Agenda issues, Ministers instead referred the whole agenda to the General Council.

On 1 August 2004, the WTO General Council adopted a decision, which addressed, inter alia , the handling of the issue of transparency in government procurement, as well as the issues of the relationship between trade and investment and the interaction between trade and competition. The Council agreed that “those issues will not form part of the Doha Work Programme and therefore no work towards negotiations (...) will take place within the WTO during the Doha Round”. Since this Decision, the Working Group on Transparency in Government Procurement has been inactive.


Mandates    back to top

Relevant excerpts from the Singapore and Doha Ministerial Declarations, the Cancún Ministerial Statement and the General Council Decision of 1 August 2004 (the so-called “July Decision”)

WGTGP Mandates


The working group’s work    back to top

Search Documents Online
Documents of the working group on transparency in government procurement bear the document code WT/WGTGP/* (where * takes additional values).
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help with downloading these documents

  • Annual reports of the Working Group to the General Council (Document code WT/WGTGP/* and Title "report" and "Working Group on Transparency in Government Procurement")    > search

  • Minutes of the working group’s meetings (searches for document code WT/WGTGP/M/*)    > search

  • Working documents on transparency (Document code WT/WGTGP/W/*)
        > search

  • Working documents on Submissions on National Practices (Document code WT/WGTGP/W/* and Title "transparency and Practices")     > search

  • General documents on transparency (Document code “varies”)     > search

You can perform more sophisticated searches from the Documents Online search facility by defining multiple search criteria such as document symbol (i.e. code number), notification number, requirement subject, trade coverage, full text search or document date.


Documents of particular importance include:

— a note by the WTO Secretariat providing a synthesis of the information available on transparency-related provisions in existing international instruments on government procurement procedures and on national practices;

— two notes by the WTO Secretariat WT/WGTGP/W/32 and WT/WGTGP/W/33 summarising the discussions in the Working Group up to autumn 2002; and

— the report of the Working Group to the General Council for 2003, summarising the discussions in the Working Group after autumn 2002.

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