For information only - not an official document
22 January 2014
VIENNA, 22 January (UN Information Service) - A revised World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement ("GPA") was formally adopted on 30 March 2012. The GPA is based on openness, transparency and non-discrimination in public procurement covered by the Agreement. These principles underlie the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on Public Procurement (adopted in 2011), itself designed to promote transparency, competition and objectivity in national systems. The UNCITRAL Secretariat therefore welcomes the Ministerial-level commitment to bringing the revised GPA into force before 31 March 2014, as agreed on 3 December 2013 in Bali.
This commitment to implementing the GPA was made in the context of the broader trade facilitation measures of the Bali package agreed on 7 December 2013. These measures are designed to speed up relevant trade procedures; make trade easier, faster and cheaper; provide clarity, efficiency and transparency; reduce bureaucracy and corruption, and use technological advances. They thus are key to the faster growth, higher living standards, and new opportunities through commerce that trade can bring, and towards which UNCITRAL is formulating modern, fair, and harmonized rules on commercial transactions.
"Transparency lies at the very foundation of good governance," the Chairman of UNCITRAL has stated, noting that the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda has called for a "transparency revolution" to empower citizens to have greater scrutiny over Government actions and expenditures. The emphasis on transparency seen in the Bali package reflects transparency as a cornerstone of UNCITRAL's activities since its inception: a recent example is the UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (adopted in 2013).
Through their complementary activities, the WTO and UNCITRAL are seeking to facilitate trade, support sustainable development, and to promote good governance and the rule of law - key practical steps that will contribute towards the UN's Post-2015 Development Agenda.
UPDATE, 14 March - The revised WTO Agreement on Government Procurement will come into force on 6 April 2014.
The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. Its mandate is to remove legal obstacles to international trade by progressively modernizing and harmonizing trade law. It prepares legal texts in a number of key areas such as international commercial dispute settlement, electronic commerce, insolvency, international payments, sale of goods, transport law, procurement and infrastructure development. UNCITRAL also provides technical assistance to law reform activities, including assisting Member States to review and assess their law reform needs and to draft the legislation required to implement UNCITRAL texts. The UNCITRAL Secretariat is located in Vienna, Austria.
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