AUSTRALIA last night received in-principle agreement to join the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA).
The GPA is an agreement that opens government procurement markets between members, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The current GPA has 47 current members, a market valued at US$1.7 trillion, and is expected to grow significantly with the accession of China and Russia to the agreement.
In return for being able to bid for government business in member countries, Australia will allow overseas companies to bid for Australian government business.
The Australian Global Trade Professionals Alliance (GTPA) has applauded the in-principle agreement, congratulating the Australian government and all those involved in making this opportunity possible for Australian business.
GTPA chief executive Lisa McAuley said a significant benefit to Australia acceding to the GPA is that Australian suppliers would have access to the procurement markets of the other GPA member countries, under conditions “no less favouable” than domestic suppliers.
“The benefits of international trade are currently the subject of debate in various contexts, to put this lightly; however, it has long been demonstrated that, even with its systemic imperfections which must be acknowledged, trade has been a powerful driver for economic value creation, inclusion and poverty reduction, as well as peace and security,” Ms McAuley said.
“Given the current environment surrounding international trade, it is so important that wins such as today are celebrated.
“The GTPA is particularly delighted to be in Geneva today when we found out that Australia has received in-principle agreement to join the WTO GPA,” Ms McAuley said.
The GPA comprises 47 economies and current members include the EU’s 28 member states, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the US, Ukraine, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Taiwan.
Membership of the GPA is continuing to expand with nine additional parties currently in negotiations to join, including Albania, China, Georgia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Russia, Tajikistan and Macedonia.