The Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) is a legally binding agreement that regulates government procurement activities among its members. This agreement, which is under the umbrella of the World Trade Organization (WTO), aims to provide an open and transparent framework for the procurement of goods and services for government use.
The GPA was introduced in 1981 and expanded in 1994. As of 2021, it has 20 members, including the European Union and the United States. These members have agreed to open their procurement markets to foreign suppliers based on the principles of non-discrimination, transparency, and fairness.
One of the key features of the GPA is the establishment of a common set of rules and procedures for government procurement. These rules cover all stages of the procurement process, from advertising and tendering to awarding contracts and post-award reviews. This enables foreign suppliers to participate on equal terms with local suppliers in the procurement process.
The GPA also includes provisions that encourage the use of electronic procurement methods and the reduction of barriers to trade, such as the use of local content requirements. This helps to promote competition and efficiency in government procurement, as well as reducing costs for taxpayers.
In addition, the GPA provides a mechanism for resolving disputes between members. If a member feels that another member has violated the principles of the agreement, they can bring a complaint to the WTO’s dispute settlement body. This helps to ensure that the rules of the agreement are respected and enforced.
Overall, the GPA is an important agreement that promotes open and transparent government procurement practices. Its principles help to create a level playing field for suppliers, promote competition and efficiency, and reduce costs for taxpayers. As a member of the WTO, compliance with the GPA is essential for countries that seek to benefit from the advantages of international trade.