World Trade Agreement on Government Procurement
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is responsible for regulating international trade agreements between its member countries. One such agreement is the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) which was signed in 1994. The GPA is a legally binding agreement that has been ratified by 47 WTO member countries, including the United States and the European Union. The purpose of the GPA is to provide equal opportunities for domestic and foreign suppliers in government procurement markets.
The GPA covers procurement activities conducted by government entities, including central and local governments, as well as public agencies and utilities. The agreement applies to a wide range of goods and services, including construction projects, transportation services, and information technology equipment. The GPA also applies to procurement activities for goods and services related to research and development.
Under the GPA, government entities are required to follow several principles when engaging in procurement activities. These principles include non-discrimination, transparency, and procedural fairness. Non-discrimination means that government entities cannot favor domestic suppliers over foreign suppliers. Transparency means that procurement activities must be conducted in a transparent and open manner. Procedural fairness means that all suppliers must be given equal opportunities to compete for government contracts.
One of the key benefits of the GPA is increased competition in government procurement markets. By providing equal opportunities for domestic and foreign suppliers, the GPA encourages innovation and efficiency. It also helps to prevent corruption and ensure that government entities are getting the best value for their money.
In addition to the GPA, the WTO also has several other agreements that regulate international trade, including the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement. These agreements, along with the GPA, are designed to promote free and fair trade between member countries.
Overall, the GPA is an important agreement that promotes transparency and fairness in government procurement markets. By providing equal opportunities for domestic and foreign suppliers, the GPA helps to ensure that government entities are getting the best value for their money. As more countries join the WTO and ratify the GPA, the benefits of this agreement will continue to grow.