Australia has been accepted to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), following three years of negotiation.
A plurilateral agreement within the framework of the WTO, is the GPA is to provide greater opening for Australian businesses to compete in government procurement markets internationally, according to the federal government.
First established in 1981, with a revised agreement coming into effect in 2014, the GPA now comprises 19 parties made up of 47 WTO member countries. Another 32 WTO members participate in the GPA Committee as observers.
Following three years of negotiation by the federal government, GPA parties unanimously agreed to Australia’s final offer to accede to the agreement.
Federal trade minister, Simon Birmingham, said that Australia’s entry into the agreement would Australian businesses the opportunity to secure government contracts in markets worth an estimated $1.7 trillion.
“It means Australian, goods, services and construction suppliers will now have access to 47 government procurement markets around the world, including new opportunities in the European Union, Canada, European Free Trade Association states, Ukraine, New Zealand and Chinese Taipei,” Birmingham said.
The government expects that the GPA will provide opportunities for Australian companies to bid for government procurement contracts in a variety of industries offered by the governments of GPA members including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, construction and financial services.
“This creates significant opportunities for our high value, highly skilled services industries to secure more contracts that support more Australian jobs,” Birmingham said.
“Australia will also gain access to the government procurement markets of future GPA members, including China and Russia who are currently seeking to join the GPA.”