THE BUSINESS OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE
At a meeting in Geneva of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) Committee confirmed that the UK can join the GPA after the formal conclusion of its transition arrangement with the EU on December 31, 2020. Up until then, the UK's membership of the GPA was based on its membership of the EU.
Announcing the decision, the Department for International Trade (DIT) explained that by becoming an independent nation member, the agreement means that "UK businesses can compete fairly for overseas procurement contracts. This will benefit a range of British businesses from across the UK that work with international governments."
DIT cites UK based advertising agencies as an example of why the agreement is important. DIT notes that "For example, UK advertising agencies can continue to export their services and remain competitive when bidding for tourism, branding and inward investment promotion work in other countries. Indeed, the GPA will continue to provide opportunities for businesses in diverse sectors to secure lucrative contracts from governments around the world. In turn, this will allow British businesses to expand their operations in the UK, supporting jobs and economic growth at home."
The GPA is an agreement between 20 parties and 48 members of the WTO, including major trading nations including the US, Canada, Australia and Japan.
Discussing the agreement, the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, said that "Today’s announcement will provide British businesses with the certainty they need to continue bidding for £1.3 trillion worth of government procurement contracts overseas, which will ultimately help deliver the growth and jobs we need to recover from the economic challenges of coronavirus."
Julian Braithwaite, the UK's Permanent Representative to the WTO, added that "Today’s decision is the result of two years of negotiations in the WTO. We fought hard to gain independent access to the GPA agreement, so that businesses of all sizes and from all corners of the UK can continue to benefit from this important deal."
For more information on the GPA, go to www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/gproc_e/gp_gpa_e.htm.
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