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United States Welcomes Opportunities for U.S. Suppliers Under Newly Revised WTO Government Procurement Agreement

December 15, 2011

Washington, DC – Today at the 8th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO), United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk welcomed the conclusion of the revision of the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) that will provide new opportunities for U.S. suppliers of goods and services to secure government procurement contracts in numerous additional markets in WTO Member economies.

“Government procurement represents one of the most rapidly expanding areas of opportunity for traders of goods and services. With the revision of the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, suppliers in the United States will have the opportunity to support more American jobs with broader, deeper access to government procurement work in many of our partner economies,” said Kirk. “After more than 10 years of negotiations, this revision demonstrates the WTO’s ability, through persistence, hard work, and a spirit of collaboration, to reach agreements that strengthen and clarify rules, and expand opportunities through market access. We look forward to this accomplishment providing momentum to other aspects of the WTO’s negotiating function.”

Currently, 42 WTO Members are covered by the GPA. Kirk also noted that the revised agreement will provide a strong foundation for other WTO Members to join the GPA – providing even more market access – and indicate that the United States is ready to work to actively encourage new accessions. Kirk particularly called on China to accelerate its accession to the GPA.

“China began its negotiations to join the GPA four years ago this month. Since that time, China has submitted three offers, each an improvement over the last. But China still has some distance to go before the procurement that it is offering is comparable to the extensive procurement that the United States and other Parties cover under the GPA. For example, we are urging China to cover state-owned enterprises, add more sub-central entities and services, reduce its thresholds for the size of covered contracts, and remove other broad exclusions.”

The revised GPA agreement expands coverage of procurement to include a number of central and sub-central entities not formerly included in the GPA, and modernizes the text to reflect current practices in procurement. More information is available on the USTR Fact Sheet, “Benefits for the United States from the Revised WTO Government Procurement Agreement.”