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In the backdrop of trade wars and after three years of negotiations, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has added Australia to the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), ensuring Australian exporters are now open to an estimated $1.7 trillion market.

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Australian goods, services and construction suppliers can now compete for government contracts in a variety of industries in additional global markets valued at an estimated $1.7 trillion. The industries include healthcare, pharmaceuticals, construction and financial services.

Australian business can now access 47 government procurement markets, that include the European Union, Canada, European Free Trade Association states, Ukraine, New Zealand and Chinese Taipei an Australian Government press release said.

Australia will also gain access to the government procurement markets of future GPA members, including China and Russia who are currently seeking to join the GPA.

This agreement forms part of the Liberal-National Government's trade agenda to open up new markets for Australian businesses to further strengthens our economy and helps create more jobs. 

What is the GPA?

The GPA is a plurilateral agreement within the framework of the WTO, meaning that not all WTO members are parties to the Agreement. At present, the Agreement has 19 parties comprising 47 WTO members. Another 32 WTO members/observers participate in the GPA Committee as observers. Out of these, 10 members are in the process of acceding to the Agreement. The fundamental aim of the GPA is to mutually open government procurement markets among its parties.

As a result of several rounds of negotiations, the GPA parties have opened procurement activities worth an estimated US$ 1.7 trillion annually to international competition (i.e. to suppliers from GPA parties offering goods, services or construction services). The GPA is composed mainly of two parts: the text of the Agreement and parties' market access schedules of commitments.

The text of the Agreement establishes rules requiring that open, fair and transparent conditions of competition be ensured in government procurement. However, these rules do not automatically apply to all procurement activities of each party. Rather, the coverage schedules play a critical role in determining whether a procurement activity is covered by the Agreement or not. Only those procurement activities that are carried out by covered entities purchasing listed goods, services or construction services of a value exceeding specified threshold values are covered by the Agreement.

These schedules are publicly available here. As a binding international treaty, the GPA is administered by the Committee on Government Procurement which is composed of representatives of all its parties. The enforcement of the Agreement is realized through two mechanisms: the domestic review mechanism at the national level and the WTO dispute settlement mechanism at the international level.

Source: Australan Government, WTO

From a Sunburnt Country

 

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