WTO GPA Symposium

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On September 17 and 18, the World Trade Organization (WTO) is presenting a symposium on “The Revised WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA): an Emerging Pillar of Twenty-first Century Trade and Development” at the WTO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The two-day conference seeks to “raise awareness” of the GPA’s significance in the international economy with respect to trade, governance and development and to examine “the multiple dimensions of government procurement policy in a modern economy”. The symposium is aimed at persons and organizations interested in the GPA, in addition to WTO Members and Observers. The WTO’s last GPA symposium was in 2010.

Key topics at the symposium include:

  • The revised GPA as an instrument of governance with its new elements and flexibilities and as a market access instrument with the potential benefits of its expansion in coverage.
  • Relevance and relationship of the GPA to other international instruments and initiatives, including the World Bank’s procurement reform, the OECD recommendation on public procurement, the work of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the revised UNCITRAL Model Law on Public Procurement.
  • Efforts to ensure the continuing relevance of the GPA, including through new work programs initiated when the revised GPA entered into force (in particular encouraging participation by small businesses in government procurement and approaches to sustainability in government procurement).
  • Broadening the reach of the GPA through accessions, including China’s on-going negotiations, and regional trade agreements. 
  • Significance of government procurement for trade, development and economic performance and relevance of the GPA.

The symposium will also include mini-workshops on four regions: Africa, Arab and Middle East; Asia-Pacific: Central & Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus Region; and Latin America and the Caribbean. Those regional discussions will explore a variety of issues, including developments in regional trade agreements, accession to the GPA, regional integration and domestic reforms, and the importance of infrastructure and public services for trade and development.

Jean Heilman Grier

September 8, 2015

Posts related to topics that are expected to be taken up at the symposium:

On GPA Accession:

On Revised GPA:

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