Tuesday, May 7, 2013
On May 2, Liechtenstein became the first World Trade Organization (WTO) member to ratify the amended version of the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) that was adopted on 30 March 2012. The Protocol of Amendment will come into effect upon its acceptance by two thirds of the 42 Member States party to the GPA. The Chairman of the Committee on Government Procurement, Mr. Bruce Christie of Canada, has urged the Parties to ratify the new agreement in time to be celebrated at the WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Bali, in December of 2013.
The GPA is a plurilateral agreement within the WTO system which provides a framework for the progressive liberalization of markets for the procurement of goods, services and construction services by governments. Like the other WTO agreements, it is based on principles of non-discrimination, transparency and procedural fairness, and embodies a set of best practices in public procurement based on the experience of the participating governments. The existing version of the Agreement was developed as part of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations. The revised text of the Agreement and expansion of related market access commitments attached to the Protocol were negotiated by the Parties over a period of more than ten years, which was concluded in March 2012.