Montenegro has ratified the WTO’s revised Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) and will benefit from new market access opportunities and other provisions under the pact starting next month. Montenegro’s WTO ambassador Zorica Marić-Djordjević submitted the country’s instrument of accession on 15 June to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo.
Based on the GPA Committee’s decision of October 2014, Montenegro becomes the first WTO member to formally accede to the revised GPA, which entered into force in April 2014 following the deposit of instruments of acceptance by most existing GPA parties.
The GPA will take effect for Montenegro in 30 days, i.e. on 15 July 2015. New Zealand, which also completed negotiations on its accession to the GPA last October, told the WTO’s Committee on Government Procurement on 3 June that it expected to deposit its instrument of acceptance by the end of July.
The aim of the GPA is to open up, as much as possible, government procurement markets to international competition, make government procurement more transparent, and provide legal guarantees of non-discrimination with regard to the products, services or suppliers of any party to the Agreement. Membership grants Montenegro and other parties assured access to public procurement markets that have been valued worldwide at as much as $1.7 trillion annually, and whose value will grow over time.
The revised GPA provides important flexibilities for developing country parties to manage their transition to a more internationally competitive government procurement regime. It also includes expanded coverage through the addition of numerous government entities (ministries and agencies) to the scope of the GPA and from the inclusion of new services and other areas of public procurement.
The GPA is a plurilateral agreement, which means that it applies only to those WTO members that have agreed to be bound by it. Current parties to the GPA are Armenia; Canada; the European Union (covering its 28 member states); Hong Kong, China; Iceland; Israel; Japan; Korea; Liechtenstein; the Kingdom of the Netherlands with respect to Aruba; Norway; Singapore; Switzerland; Chinese Taipei; and the United States.
Other WTO members that have started the process of acceding to the GPA are Albania, Australia, China, Georgia, Jordan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Oman, Tajikistan and Ukraine. A further five members — the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mongolia, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and Seychelles — have provisions regarding accession to the Agreement in their respective protocols of accession to the WTO.
Source of the materials: WTO 2015 news items