CHANGING DEFININTION OF PUBLIC PROCUREMENT IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE: FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE REVISED GPA
Public procurement or Government procurement can simply be defined as the process through which the public or local authorities purchase either goods or services or both from companies. Over the past decade, government procurement has come to be one of the most central pillars of International Trade. Various governments have gradually begun to recognise the concept of procurement as an essential aspect of economic development of their countries. One of the reasons could be the lack of properly well-defined rules and regulations that govern this sector. The absence of a “value for money” system in government procurement services resulted into the formation of the very first binding agreement under the WTO called as the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA or the Agreement).
The Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations resulted in the implementation of the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA or “the agreement”) on 1st January, 1994. GPA is a plurilateral Agreement, which means that it is not binding on all the WTO members, but only on the parties that have signed it. It essentially controls and puts rules and regulations on the “purchasing activities of the public bodies” of these parties. The fundamental objective of this plurilateral agreement is to encourage the development of government procurement markets amongst its parties. This goal is achieved by imposing rules and regulations on the participating members in order to prevent discrimination against the products and services of other members. This would in turn lead to a greater liberalisation of trade and expansion of the world economy.