WTO procurement agreement opens up the world for Kiwi companies

New Zealand has finalised its accession to the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), and it will come into effect next month, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Trade Minister Tim Groser announced.

New Zealand businesses will have guaranteed access to bid for an estimated US$1.7 trillion in annual overseas government contracts through joining the GPA, which creates new opportunities for Kiwi businesses to export more products and services to more destinations, Joyce says in a statement.

“Formal procedures in Geneva have now been completed which means that from mid-August, New Zealand companies will be able to do business freely across 43 WTO member countries, including the US, Canada, Japan and 28 countries of the EU.”

The GPA covers the purchase of a broad range of goods and services that government agencies buy from the private sector, including construction, and will help achieve the Business Growth Agenda goal of increasing exports to 40 percent of GDP by 2025, he says.

“Selling to international governments without having to set up offshore branches or other ‘work arounds’ is a key area of opportunity for New Zealand exporters. Governments worldwide are looking for the types of products and services that New Zealand offers.”

New Zealand’s accession follows two years of negotiations. From next month, New Zealand exporters seeking to access the government procurement markets of the other GPA member countries will be able to compete on equal terms with their international counterparts, Groser says.

Member countries are not allowed to discriminate against businesses from another GPA member country in respect of government procurement opportunities covered by the agreement. They must also follow rules relating to competition and openness.

“Joining will not have a big impact on New Zealand government agencies because they already conduct their procurement in line with the agreement’s fundamental principles.

“We already follow the rules, but until now have not had the same opportunity for our New Zealand exporters. Joining up to the GPA will improve all access and reduce costs for exporters.

“This is a significant step in opening up large overseas markets to our Kiwi suppliers.”

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