Revised GPA brings steps, procedures in line with new environment

Economy April 23, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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The Revised Government Procurement Agreement is now in effect after over two years of waiting.

The revision brings the steps and procedures of the GPA up to date with the current environment and lends procurement and hiring more flexibility. 
The new GP also comes with an acceptable framework and standards for future negotiations with free trade agreement (FTA) and Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) member nations, as it also helps curb corruption.
Somkiat Triratpan, deputy director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said yesterday that the revised GPA under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) framework is in effect after the members resolved to support this revision in December 2011 and the WTO announced the prompt implementation of this revision last December in Bali. 
The revised GPA specifies the procurement and hiring scope of the state and general guidelines to include electronic channels or methods to reduce processing time. 
It curbs corrupt practices, preserves natural resources, protects the environment via specification of related technical aspects and ensures operations transparency pertaining to announcements issued by the state. 
It offers more flexibility for developing and least developed nations on a clearer basis in terms of allowing more time for those nations to adapt to the entering of bilateral agreements or to implement the terms. The GPA will facilitate over U$80 billion-$100 billion per year in procurement and hiring by WTO member states at the ministerial level and by regional agencies and state enterprises. 
Thailand is negotiating FTAs with the EU as well as the European Free Trade Association and the TPP regarding market entry opportunities and transparency of procurement and hiring by the state. 
This preparation to facilitate future FTA talks should benefit Thailand, which will become an observer at the revised GPA conference of 15 member nations – Armenia, Canada, European Union 28, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Liechtenstein, Aruba, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, China and the US.  Thailand has yet to establish a treaty.