From 2001 to 2016, membership in the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) nearly doubled, increasing from 27 to 47 WTO members. The plurilateral pact now covers almost 30% of the WTO membership. Three factors underlie its 20-member expansion over 16 years: European Union enlargement that added 13 member states; WTO commitments of five countries to pursue GPA accession; and voluntary initiatives of two countries. A Djaghe white paper, Expanding WTO Government Procurement Agreement Membership, provides an extensive examination of the expansion of GPA membership, based on a compilation of posts from Perspectives on Trade that address this subject.
The compilation begins with posts that address the EU’s significant role in expanding GPA membership. The first, “EU Enlargement: Key to Expanding the GPA”, examines the EU’s addition of new member states to the GPA roster. Another post, “Croatia Added as Designated Country in Federal Procurement Regulations,” looks at the EU’s most recent addition of Croatia.
The white paper continues with an examination of accessions to the GPA, focusing in particular on those that are based on commitments to seek GPA membership, which were made when the country became a WTO member. Of the four countries that joined the GPA in 2015 and 2016 (Montenegro, New Zealand, Ukraine and Moldova), all but New Zealand were fulfilling such commitments.
First, several posts take up the 2015 accessions of Montenegro and New Zealand:
- “GPA Gains Two New Members” describes the WTO procurement committee’s approval of their terms of accession;
- “Montenegro Joins GPA” outlines Montenegro’s procurement commitments; and
- “New Zealand Implements GPA” details the procurement New Zealand covers under the Agreement.
Next, several posts consider the 2016 accessions of Ukraine and Moldova, beginning with Ukraine, which acceded on May 18th:
- “Ukraine: Time to Join the GPA?” considers the benefits to Ukraine of joining the GPA;
- “Ukraine: Approved for GPA Membership” describes the terms for Ukraine’s accession; and
- “Ukraine Ratifies WTO Procurement Agreement”.
They are followed by posts relating to Moldova’s accession, including:
- “Moldova’s Terms for GPA Accession” sets out Moldova’s GPA commitments;
- “WTO GPA Update #7” notes Moldova’s accession on July 14 as the 47th WTO member to cover procurement under the plurilateral pact; and
- “Summer Procurement Wrap-up” describes the U.S. waiver of domestic purchasing requirements for Moldova.
The white paper then explores the pending GPA accessions of four WTO members (China, Australia, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan) through a variety of posts, including “Progress in Expanding GPA“ and excerpts of posts, including from the GPA Updates series. All, except Australia, are obligated by WTO commitments to pursue GPA membership.
The post, “China’s Prospects for GPA Accession”, provides a link to an article that details the negotiations of China’s accession to the GPA and the outstanding issues in its accession. The post, “China’s Trade Policy Review: Government Procurement”, examines elements of China’s GPA accession that arose from its 2016 WTO Trade Policy Review. The post, “Australia Prepares to Join the GPA”, describes Australia’s decision to seek GPA membership. Excerpts from other posts further elaborate on their accessions.
Several posts address the Russian Federation’s WTO commitment to join the GPA and its application for GPA membership. The white paper also includes posts that address the commitments of new WTO members (Kazakhstan and the Seychelles) to initiate GPA negotiations.
The white paper concludes with a description in “WTO GPA Update #5” of the “Checklist of Issues for Provision of Information Relating to Accession to the Revised Agreement on Government Procurement”, an important source of information in the accession process.
Jean Heilman Grier
September 20, 2016