AFTINET submission on Australia joining the WTO Government Procurement Agreement

February 10, 2019:  AFTINET's submission to the JSCOT Inquiry on Australia joining the WTO Government Procurement Agreement argues that the government has not presented any independent assessment of the costs and benefits of Australia joining the agreement, that would justify Australia's accession. If the Committee recommends that accession should proceed, the Committee should note in its report that the EU has indicated in its conditions of accession that it will seek removal of exemptions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the GPA review process.

The Committee should recommend that future governments retain and strongly defend the exemptions for SMEs, and all other exemptions, including exemptions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses. in Australia’s conditions of accession.

The Committee should also recommend that governments retain and strongly defend exemptions for SMEs, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and other exemptions in the EU-Australia FTA negotiations

The Commonwealth government should undertake a training program for procurement officers to ensure that they are aware of and can implement the full range of SME and other procurement exemptions in the WTO GPA and Australia’s other trade agreements, and that they are aware of broader definitions of value-for-money and economic benefit.