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WTO Working Papers

WTO working papers usually represent research in progress. Such research may be conducted in the preparation of WTO Secretariat reports, studies or other material for WTO members. The papers are circulated for comment because the WTO considers critical review of professional research to be extremely important.

English

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.

English

Keywords: MFN, Public Economics, Public Works, Corruption, E-Commerce, Plurilateral agreements, International Trade Agreements, Developing Country, Trade Agreements
JEL: H72: Public Economics / State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations / State and Local Budget and Expenditures; K2: Law and Economics / Regulation and Business Law; F5: International Economics / International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy; O1: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economic Development; O24: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Development Planning and Policy / Development Planning and Policy: Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy; H5: Public Economics / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies; F1: International Economics / Trade; H57: Public Economics / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies: Procurement
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