This post highlights recent activities related to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), in particular, Moldova’s accession, the June meeting of the WTO GPA committee and the update of the WTO’s e-GPA Portal. It also notes Russia’s commitment to start GPA negotiations next month.
Moldova: On July 14, the Republic of Moldova became the 19th party to the GPA, and the 47th WTO member to cover government procurement under the plurilateral pact. Its terms of accession, approved by the WTO procurement committee in September 2015, detail the procurement it is covering under the Agreement. Moldova ratified the Agreement and submitted its instrument of accession to the WTO Secretariat on June 14, allowing it to join the GPA 30 days later. Moldova’s accession fulfills a commitment it made when it became a WTO member in 2001.
Pending Accessions: At its recent meeting, the GPA committee took stock of the status of ongoing negotiations to join the GPA.
- Australia: Australia informed the committee that it would not be able to submit a revised offer due to its parliamentary election, held on July 2. It launched its accession negotiations and submitted its initial offer last year.
- China: As it had at the procurement committee’s February meeting, China in June outlined steps it has taken to lay the groundwork for future progress on its accession. It has not submitted a new offer since its latest one (its 6th offer) in December 2014. Moreover, there was no mention of China’s GPA accession negotiations — now in their 9th year, in the recent bilateral U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, which has served previously as a forum for China’s commitments to table new offers. The European Union in a proposed new strategy on China expressed its expectation that China would submit a GPA offer that “matches the importance of the Chinese market”. In the WTO’s 2016 Trade Policy Review of China, which concluded last week, China stated that it “will endeavour to achieve an earlier accession to the GPA”.
- Kyrgyz Republic: Earlier this year, the Kyrgyz Republic reactivated its accession, which had been dormant for several years, with the submission of an updated market access offer and a draft domestic procurement law for review by the parties.
- Tajikistan: On June 20, Tajikistan circulated its second revised offer in its negotiations to fulfill a WTO commitment to join to the GPA.
Arbitration Procedures: As discussed in a recent post, the GPA committee also adopted arbitration procedures at its June meeting.
Update of e-GPA-Portal: The WTO has just launched an enhanced version (2.0) of its e-GPA web portal, which was initially introduced in 2015 to provide a single point of access to the market access commitments of the GPA parties. The enhanced version enables users to undertake more advanced comparisons of the coverage commitments of the parties, as well as to easily access the GPA thresholds in national currencies. It adds a feature that provides a single location for the media (electronic and paper) that parties use to provide information on their procurement systems, including laws and regulations and procurement notices. The updated portal also provides information on parties’ modifications of their annexes, but much of that information will not be available to the public until modifications are completed.
Russia’s Accession Commitment: When the Russian Federation became a WTO member in August 2012, it promised to start GPA negotiations within four years. Accordingly, it is expected to initiate its GPA accession in August by tabling a market access offer of the procurement that it would open under the Agreement.
Jean Heilman Grier
July 26, 2016