Agreement on Government Procurement

Agreement on Government Procurement
Agreement on Government Procurement.png
Parties to the Marrakesh agreement, as amended:
 Observers negotiating accession
 Observers only
Signed12-04-1979 (Geneva)
02-02-1987 (amendment)
15-04-1994 (Marrakesh)
30-03-2012 (amendment)
LocationGeneva (1979), Marrakesh (1996)
14-02-1988 (amendment)
01-01-1996 (Marrakesh)
06-04-2014 (amendment)
Parties12 (Geneva, as amended)
19 (Marrakesh, as amended)
DepositaryDirector-General of the World Trade Organization
LanguagesEnglish, French and Spanish

The Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) is a plurilateral agreement under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO) which regulates the procurement of goods and services by the public authorities of the parties to the agreement, based on the principles of openness, transparency and non-discrimination.

The agreement was originally established in 1979 as the Tokyo Round Code on Government Procurement,[1] which entered into force in 1981 under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.[2] It was then renegotiated in parallel with the Uruguay Round in 1994, and this version entered into force on 1 January 1996. The agreement was subsequently revised on 30 March 2012. The revised GPA came into effect on 6 July 2014.[2]


The following WTO Members are parties to the 1994 agreement:[3]

Parties Accession date
Canada 1 January 1996
The European Union with respect to Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom 1 January 1996
Israel 1 January 1996
Japan 1 January 1996
Norway 1 January 1996
Switzerland 1 January 1996
United States 1 January 1996
The Netherlands with respect to Aruba 25 October 1996
South Korea 1 January 1997
Hong Kong SAR 19 June 1997
Liechtenstein 18 September 1997
Singapore 20 October 1997
Iceland 28 April 2001
The European Union with respect to Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia 1 May 2004
The European Union with respect to Bulgaria and Romania 1 January 2007
Chinese Taipei 15 July 2009
Armenia 15 September 2011
The European Union with respect to Croatia 1 July 2013
Montenegro 15 July 2015
New Zealand 12 August 2015
Ukraine 18 May 2016
Moldova 14 June 2016
Australia 5 May 2019

The following WTO Members have obtained observer status with respect to the GPA, with those marked with an asterisk (*) negotiating accession: Albania*, Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil*,[4] Cameroon, Chile, China*, Colombia, Costa Rica, Georgia*, India, Indonesia, Jordan*, Kyrgyz Republic*, North Macedonia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Oman*, Pakistan, Panama, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan*, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.[3]

Review Body on Bid Challenges

The Review Body on Bid Challenges is a body set up by party states in order to allow suppliers to challenge irregular government tenders.[5] Such bodies are independent and endeavors to process each case in an expeditious manner. The Review Body is also empowered to recommend Rapid Interim Measures which can be recommended within days where a Review Body finds a prima facie case for a bid challenge.[6]

Prospective UK membership

In 2016, several commentators[who?] suggested that following the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union (EU), the UK would need to renegotiate to become a party to the GPA in its own right, as the UK's membership currently arises by virtue of its being a member of the EU.[7]

In October 2018, Bloomberg reported that some WTO members, including Moldova, may block the UK's post-Brexit membership of the GPA or request concessions.[8] At the same time the United States and New Zealand also raised concerns about the UK's membership proposal "because its application was missing key information".[9] On 27 February 2019, the WTO's GPA Committee made a decision on the UK’s accession, such that if the UK leaves the EU with no deal in place, the UK will ratify the GPA in its own name as soon as possible, and if there is a deal with the EU which provides for a transitional period of continued application of membership arrangements, UK membership within the context of the EU's membership would continue, and a further decision of the GPA Committee would be required to allow for UK accession at the end of the transitional period.[10] Ratification is subject to parliamentary approval under section 20 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.


  1. ^ Agreement on Government Procurement, 12 April 1979, accessed 1 July 2019
  2. ^ a b World Trade Organization, Agreement on Government Procurement, accessed 1 July 2019
  3. ^ a b "Parties and observers to the GPA". WTO. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  4. ^ https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news20_e/gpro_19may20_e.htm
  5. ^ "WTO GPA- Support Behind Suppliers' Back in Government Tender Disputes | Hong Kong Lawyer". www.hk-lawyer.org. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  6. ^ "WTO GPA- Support Behind Suppliers' Back in Government Tender Disputes | Hong Kong Lawyer". www.hk-lawyer.org. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  7. ^ e.g. Cameron, A., Brexit: What does it mean for public procurement?, 8 July 2016, accessed 11 September 2016
  8. ^ Baschuk, B., Moldova Grudge Could Cost U.K. Access to $1.7 Trillion Projects, published 17 October 2018, accessed 28 June 2019
  9. ^ Baschuk, B., U.S. Stalls U.K. Bid to Stay in $1.7 Trillion Market, published 17 October 2018, accessed 28 June 2019
  10. ^ Fox, L., The UK’s accession to the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), written statement to the House of Commons, 28 February 2019, accessed 28 June 2019

External links

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