ACDE Trade & Development Seminars
Date & time
The efficiency of government procurement can have significant impacts on a country’s overall resource-use efficiency, and on government budgets. Thus, reforming government procurement to open the market to overseas competition is likely to help address budgetary concerns and, more importantly, significantly improve economic efficiency. Mindful of this, greater attention is now being devoted globally to negotiating government procurement provisions in trade agreements, whether multilateral, bilateral, or plurilateral/regional. A critical issue is therefore whether these trade agreements have been effective in promoting significant domestic reforms in parties’ government procurement systems. Put another way, have they helped domestic liberalization, had no impact, or even hindered such domestic reforms? These questions have become even more pertinent given the proliferation of discriminatory preferential trade agreements (PTAs), with many more in the pipeline. This PTA explosion stems largely from governments heralding them as big improvements on earlier versions and as modern twenty-first-century agreements by including provisions in new areas, such as government procurement. Government procurement therefore provides an excellent case study of PTAs generally and of their capacity to reform such policies, in order to see whether PTA provisions deliver nothing more in practice than merely expanding negotiations of commitments on ‘paper’.