DP1112 | The WTO's Agreement on Government Procurement: Expanding Disciplines, Declining Membership?

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With the reintroduction of agriculture and textiles and clothing into the GATT, the absence of general rules on procurement has become the major `hole' in the coverage of the GATT. This paper provides an analysis of the new Government Procurement Agreement that was negotiated between a subset of GATT members in the Uruguay Round, focusing in particular on the expansion of coverage to services and strengthening of enforcement mechanisms. The latter represent an innovation by allowing for private parties to invoke the Agreement before national courts. The question of why membership of the Agreement remains limited is explored. Pursuit of tariffication is suggested as an avenue through which the Agreement might be expanded to cover all WTO Members.