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Expanded WTO Pact on Government Procurement Takes Effect for South Korea

Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

An expanded plurilateral agreement designed to eliminate discrimination in government procurement will take effect Jan. 14 for South Korea. The Protocol Amending the Agreement on Government Procurement is already in effect with respect to Armenia, Aruba, Canada, the European Union, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Singapore, Taiwan and the United States.

The GPA ensures that signatories do not discriminate against the products, services or suppliers of other parties with respect to the government procurement opportunities that are opened to foreign competition. It also requires transparent and competitive purchasing practices in the markets covered.

The changes made to the GPA by the protocol include the following.

- numerous government ministries and agencies added to the scope of the agreement

- coverage extended to new services and other areas of public procurement activities

- text streamlined and modernized to include, for example, standards related to the use of electronic procurement tools

- new provision added relating to the prevention of corrupt practices in the parties’ procurement systems

- scope of original agreement reinforced to promote the conservation of natural resources and protect the environment through the application of appropriate technical specifications

- improved transitional measures incorporated to facilitate accession by developing and least-developed economies

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