Government procurement

In addition to WTO regular work, the EU has actively participated in a number of negotiations taking place outside the framework of the Doha Development Round, notably on government procurement.

Government procurement is an important aspect of international trade, given the considerable size of the procurement market (often 10-15% of GDP) and the benefits for domestic and foreign stakeholders in terms of increased competition and efficiency. Open, transparent and non-discriminatory procurement is generally considered to be the best tool to achieve 'value for money' as it optimises competition among suppliers, which is especially critical in times of scarce public resources.

The plurilateral Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) signed by a number of WTO members has recently gone through an important review – both in terms of the text of the agreement as well as Parties' commitments on market access. The negotiators reached an agreement on the text of the tendering rules (provisionally agreed in December 2006) and the negotiations on further mutual market opening were concluded in December 2011.

The condition set out in paragraph 3 of the Protocol Amending the GPA was fulfilled early March – 2/3 of GPA membership must ratify the revised agreement - and the revised Agreement entered into force on 6 April 2014, thus keeping to the timeframe set by our Ministers in Bali. The EU deposited its instrument of acceptance on 3rd December 2013 during the ministerial level GPA meeting in Bali.

The EU also strongly supports accession of new members to the GPA. Negotiations with China, New Zealand, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine are ongoing.

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