BALI, Indonesia, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Government procurement in a group of 15 countries and regions will be opened up to greater international competition from next year under an agreement affirmed at the World Trade Organization's (WTO) 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali on Wednesday.
The participants agreed to bring in a revised version of the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) as soon as possible and no later than March 31 next year.
The revised agreement, adopted in March 2012, encompassed a significant extension of market access commitment that could lead to gains for businesses from the partner countries ranging from 80 billion to 100 billion U.S. dollars a year, said a statement from the WTO.
It would enter into force when it was ratified by 10 of the 15 parties, and so far, seven parties had ratified it: Liechtenstein, Norway, Canada, Chinese Taipei, the United States, Hong Kong and the European Union.
Several other parties indicated Wednesday that they would submit their acceptances in the coming weeks, and a ministerial declaration also welcomed the steps that some WTO members are taking to accede to the agreement, in particular New Zealand, Montenegro and China.
WTO director-general Roberto Azevdo said government procurement "is a very important element of overall economic activity, representing 15 to 20 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) worldwide."
"By promoting the efficient provision of infrastructure and public services such as health and education, government procurement has a direct impact not only on the state of national treasuries, but also on the well-being of citizens," Azevedo said in the statement.
The agreement aimed at making government procurement more transparent, and provided legal guarantees of non-discrimination with regard to the products, services or suppliers of any party.
WTO needs compromised Bali agreement: U.S. trade representative
BALI, Indonesia, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- The United States urged ministers to reach a compromised agreement on multilateral trade, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said here Wednesday.
"Leaving Bali this week without an agreement will deal a debilitating blow to the WTO as a forum for multilateral negotiations," Forman said when delivering a speech at the plenary session of the Ninth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference. Full story