On September 16th, the WTO Committee on Government Procurement (Committee) approved the terms of Moldova’s accession to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). It gave Moldova six months, until mid-March 2016, in which to submit its instrument of accession; its accession will enter into force 30 days after its submission. Moldova’s accession to the GPA will fulfill a commitment that it made when it joined the WTO in 2001 — to seek GPA membership. The Committee’s decision (GPA/131) specifies the procurement that Moldova will open under the GPA.
Central Government Entities: Moldova will cover 63 central government entities under the GPA: 16 ministries, including its defense ministry, its President, Parliament and most of its courts as well as a number of agencies and other entities. After a two-year transition period, it will apply the same threshold as most of the GPA parties, 130,000 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), for the procurement of goods and services. During the first year of the transition period, its threshold will be 300,000 SDRs, and 200,000 SDRs in the second year.
Sub-central Government Entities: Moldova agreed to open the procurement of two municipalities (Chisinau and Balti) and 32 district authorities (consilii), as well as the public authorities of the autonomous territorial Unit of Gagauzia. These entities will apply a threshold of 200,000 SDRs for goods and services (the same as most parties), after a two-year transition period. In the first year of that period, it will use a 400,000 SDRs threshold, which it will reduce to 300,000 SDRs in the second year.
Other Entities: With regard to the coverage of Other Entities, Moldova will open procurement in two categories. The first is “All legal entities (authorities, establishments and foundations) governed by public law and not having an industrial or commercial character”, whose procurement is covered by its 2007 Law on Government Procurement. Moldova lists 10 entities in this category:
- Academy of Sciences
- National Library
- Academy of Public Administration
- Special Telecommunications Center
- Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of Moldova
- Moldavian Olympic Committee
- Monitorul Oficial
- Posta Moldovei
- High Court of Moldova
Also in the first category, it is offering a broad range of entities: research institutes and centers; state education institutes; state universities; museums, state libraries; state theatres, operas, philharmonic orchestras, cultural houses and centers; state magazines; state publishing houses; state schools, culture and cults inspectorates; sport federations and clubs; and hospitals, sanatoriums, clinics, medical units, legal-medical institutes and ambulance stations.
Its second category is comprised of contracting authorities engaged in activities in any of six categories: drinking water, electricity or thermal power, ports, airports, urban transport or railway transport. For the goods and services purchased by all of its Other Entities, Moldova will apply a threshold of 400,000 SDRs for goods and services, after a two-year transition period. In the first year after accession, it will set its threshold at 600,000 SDRs and and in the second year, at 500,000 SDRs. Moldova will apply a five million SDRs threshold for procurement of construction services by all of its covered entities.
Services: Moldova will follow the approach of most parties and use a positive list to define its coverage of services, listing 38 categories of services, subject to the limitations and conditions specified in its Schedule of Specific Commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services. Only New Zealand and the U.S. base their coverage of services on a negative list (covering all services, except those listed). Moldova also covers all construction services, to the extent that they are not related to national security and defense.
General Notes: Moldova includes three general notes. One excludes the procurement of agricultural products made in furtherance of agricultural support programs and human feeding programs, an exclusion also taken by the United States and other parties. The other two notes are directed at Israel, denying it access to the procurement of entities engaged in railway and urban transport until Israel provides comparable access, and the right to challenge procurement below thresholds used by Israel.
Moldova’s Access to Central Government Entities in the European Union: The Committee Decision also indicates that the EU will provide Moldova with access to all of its Member States’ central government entities that it lists in its annex – its second best coverage.
Jean Heilman Grier
October 5, 2015