The WTO Public Procurement Agreement is a “multilateral” agreement that means it applies to a number of WTO members, but not all members. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Procurement Agreement, commonly known as the GPA, establishes a framework for public procurement rights and obligations among WTO members who have signed it. The signatories agreed that suppliers of goods and services in other signatory countries would not be treated less favourably than domestic suppliers when covered by the agreement and that their public procurement laws, rules and procedures would be transparent and fair. The GPA contains a number of provisions to ensure that tendering procedures for public procurement are transparent, effective and fair in the signatory countries. The signatories agreed on this point: while global trade rules appear in the GPA as a subject of arkane, the agreement has had a profound impact on public procurement practices around the world. It has opened up a huge procurement market for signatory countries, including the United States, and has created a series of open and transparent rules to which even non-signatory countries work. The work under the coverage improvement and expansion agreement would benefit U.S. suppliers not only from competing abroad, but also from competing for orders here at home. In many cases, such as the sale of medical devices and medicines to public hospitals, government software, the sale of energy equipment and the construction of hard infrastructure, GPA provides the main form of access for U.S. companies to foreign markets. On March 30, 2012, the parties to the GPA adopted a review of the GPA. The revised agreement expands the markets covered by the GPA to provide U.S.
products, services and suppliers with new opportunities to participate in centralized and sub-centralized procurement in other GPA parties. The revised agreement also provides for a substantial improvement in the text of the treaty by modernising the text to take into account current procurement practices and to clarify its commitments. The revised agreement came into force on 6 April 2014 following the tabling of the acceptance instrument by ten parties, two thirds of the parties to the agreement on that date. Since March 2019, Switzerland is the only member country of the GPA to have yet to table its instruments of acceptance and, as such, US commitments to Switzerland are defined in the 1994 GPA.