General Procurement Agreement (GPA) in the World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international agreement that aims to promote open and transparent government procurement among the member countries. The GPA is a legally binding agreement that covers procurement of goods, services, and construction work by government entities. The agreement applies to central government entities and sub-central government entities that conduct procurement activities with a certain threshold value.
The GPA was first introduced in 1981 and was adopted by the WTO in 1994. The agreement is based on the principle of national treatment, which means that foreign bidders must be treated the same as domestic bidders. The GPA also promotes the use of electronic procurement methods to enhance efficiency and transparency in government procurement.
The GPA has several benefits for member countries. Firstly, it promotes fair competition among foreign and domestic bidders, leading to better value for money and higher quality products and services. Secondly, it provides transparency in procurement activities, making it easier for bidders to identify procurement opportunities. Thirdly, it encourages the use of best practices in procurement, leading to more efficient and effective procurement processes.
To become a member of the GPA, a country must agree to abide by the principles of the agreement and undertake certain commitments. These commitments include publishing information about procurement opportunities, treating bidders equally, and providing access to review procedures. Once a country becomes a member, it can participate in procurement activities in other member countries without discrimination.
The GPA has evolved over time, with the most recent revision taking place in 2014. The revision included the addition of new procurement categories, such as energy efficient products, and the introduction of new obligations for member countries, such as the use of electronic procurement methods.
In conclusion, the General Procurement Agreement in the World Trade Organization is an important international agreement that promotes open and transparent government procurement among member countries. The agreement has several benefits, including fair competition, transparency, and the use of best practices in procurement. As the world becomes more globalized, the GPA will continue to play an important role in promoting fair and efficient procurement practices across countries.