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United States Welcomes Formal Adoption of GPA Revision

Washington, DC – United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk has welcomed the formal adoption today by the Parties to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) of the outcome of the negotiations to revise the GPA. Ambassador Michael Punke represented the United States in Geneva today. The results of the GPA negotiations had been approved at the Ministerial-level meeting of the WTO Committee on Government Procurement in December 2011, subject only to technical verification and legal review. The action today reflected the completion of the technical verification and legal review of the revised GPA.

“The revision of this major procurement agreement will provide U.S. firms with new and expanded opportunities to sell their goods and services to foreign governments,” said Ambassador Kirk. “This revision demonstrated the ability of the WTO, through hard work, dedicated effort, and the spirit of collaboration and compromise, to reach agreements that strengthen and clarify international rules and expand the international trading system.”

In Geneva today, Ambassadors reiterated the commitment of their ministers to seek prompt acceptance and implementation of the revised GPA within their respective jurisdictions. The revised GPA will enter into force when two-thirds of the 15 GPA Parties have deposited their instruments of approval. It is hoped that the revised Agreement will enter into force within approximately one year.

The 15 Parties to the GPA are: Armenia, Canada, the European Union (and its 27 Member States -- Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, , Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom), Hong Kong China, Iceland, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands with respect to Aruba, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan (Chinese Taipei), and the United States.

The revised Agreement expands the procurement covered under the GPA to provide U.S. goods, services, and suppliers with new opportunities to participate in central and sub-central procurement in the other GPA Parties. The revised Agreement also includes a significant improvement of the text of the Agreement by modernizing the text to reflect current procurement practices and clarifying its obligations.

In addition to the approval of the revised GPA, the Ambassadors approved several future work programs, including a work program aimed at facilitating participation by small and medium sized businesses in GPA procurement. The work programs will be initiated when the revised GPA enters into force.