UK Soon To Join WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement

February 3, 2021
Procurement

On the 7th October 2020, the WTO’s Government Procurement Act (GPA) members granted the UK the right to submit its GPA instrument of accession to the Committee in 2021.

This means the UK will join the GPA in its own right once the EU member transition periods ends on 31st December 2020.

What’s The WTO Government Procurement Act?

The GPA is an agreement set up within the framework of the WTO. It began in 1979 as the “Tokyo Round Code on Government Procurement”, in an effort to bring government procurement under internationally agreed trade rules. After several amendments and scope expansions, it became the GPA, signed in Marrakesh in 1994.

The agreements allow WTO member states (36 of the 48) to mutually open government procurement markets, estimated to be $1.7 trillion per year in international trade opportunities.

In addition, the text of the agreement sets out rules requiring open and transparent conditions of competition in government procurement.

The benefit is that the agreement allows domestic and international businesses to compete equally in foreign procurement markets, within a framework of fairness and transparency.

What Does UK Accession Mean?

Essentially, the UK Government will continue to access the foreign suppliers to its procurement markets, worth GBP 68 billion*, just as it has as a member of the EU, but this time under its own steam.

In exchange, UK businesses will have access to the £1.3 Trillion of GPA’s covered procurement markets worth over GBP 1.3 trillion*.

Ultimately, this means greater opportunities for UK businesses to supply to international governments.

The official UK response to its agreed accession is here.

Fiona Hunt

 

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