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Business Envoy

Government procurement: more export opportunities for Australian businesses

It is now one year since Australia joined the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA). The GPA provides Australian businesses of all sizes with the right to tender in the government procurement markets of the 47 current GPA members, worth around A$2.5 trillion each year.

The European Union and its member states, including Germany and France, as well as the United States, Canada, Norway, Japan, New Zealand and Chinese Taipei are all members of the GPA. The United Kingdom is taking steps to remain a member in its own right.

Membership of the GPA is continuing to grow over time, and this will result in the opening up of more government procurement markets for Australian exporters in the future. Twelve additional WTO members are currently in the process of joining the GPA, including China, whose total procurement market alone is estimated to be worth up to US$2.5 trillion (approximately A$3.7 trillion).

Most recently, Brazil began the process of becoming a GPA member, the first country in Latin America to do so. Upon completion, this would help open up Brazil's estimated US$230 billion (approximately A$338 billion) government procurement sector.

Under the GPA, Australian exporters of goods and services benefit from a level playing field for government contracts in other countries, including rules requiring that suppliers have access to all the information they need to tender competitively and that tenders are treated on their respective merits. Australian businesses also have the right to complain if GPA rules are not followed and can seek remedies, including the opportunity to still participate in the procurement.

Opportunities are available in areas of strength for Australia, such as financial services, accounting, auditing, management consulting, information and telecommunications-related services, architecture, engineering, environmental protection services, education, insurance and construction services, as well as a wide range of goods procured by governments.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's GPA team can provide more information on the GPA and would welcome businesses sharing their successes and challenges in tendering for procurement opportunities in foreign markets. The GPA team can be contacted by email: gpa@dfat.gov.au. Information is avaible on how to access procurement opportunities and further information is also available on DFAT's website.

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