WTO agreement gives Australian exporters greater transparency

The Ai Group has welcomed Australia’s entry to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on government procurement.

Australia will become the 48th member of the agreement once it joins in May 2019.

In April 10, Ai Group chief executive, Innes Willox, said Australia’s accession to the WTO government procurement agreement will provide Australian exporters with greater transparency in the opportunities that lie in what is a $1.7 trillion market.

The accession will provide Australian businesses of all sizes a reciprocal, legally bound access to the government procurement markets of the 47 current GPA members worth about $2.3 trillion each year. At present, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Norway, Japan, New Zealand and Chinese Taipei are all members of the GPA.

The membership will also open up new markets for Australia as it will also have access to the markets of future GPA members. Nine new members are currently in the process of joining the GPA, including China whose total procurement market alone is estimated to be worth more than $2.5 trillion.

It will boost Australian exports, as the market includes industries like construction and highway maintenance equipment, mining equipment and technology, agricultural machinery and equipment, water purification and sewage treatment equipment, environmental goods, and health and pharmaceutical supplies, entities that Australian exporters already have a competitive advantage in.

“The carve outs that the Australian negotiators have secured will ensure that our SMEs and Indigenous-managed businesses will continue to have access to the Australian government procurement market, and we will continue to protect the supply to our essential services, such as security, defence and government communication,” said Willox.

The work, however, doesn’t end here. As with all trade agreements, DFAT and Austrade will need to inform Australian exporters of the opportunities and be diligent in protecting this increased access and monitoring compliance among other GPA members.