On 3 June 2015, the WTO announced that Australia has formally launched its bid to join the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), underlining its commitment to work towards timely accession to the pact. The announcement was made at a 3 June meeting of the Committee on Government Procurement where progress was also reported on the accession bids of several pending applicants.

Australia said it planned to submit an initial market access offer for GPA accession within the coming months, which will trigger the negotiations on its entry terms. 
At the same meeting, parties to the GPA agreed to accept the requests from Costa Rica and Thailand for observer status in the committee. Thirty-one WTO members now hold observer status; 12 of these observers are negotiating accession to the GPA, with two — Montenegro and New Zealand — having already completed their accession talks.

Pending ratifications

Montenegro told the committee that its domestic ratification process for the GPA has now been successfully concluded. Montenegro said it expected to submit the GPA instrument of acceptance to the WTO in the coming days. The committee decided in October 2014 to accept Montenegro as a party to the GPA and gave it six months to deposit its instrument of accession, a deadline which was later extended until 29 June 2015.

New Zealand also told the committee that its parliament has approved the GPA and that the domestic ratification process was now being finalized, with the country on track to deposit its instrument of acceptance by the 29 July deadline. New Zealand was also accepted as a party to the GPA last October.

Separately, Armenia notified the committee that it has ratified the revised GPA, which came into force in April 2014. The Republic of Korea and Switzerland are the only two current parties to the GPA that have not yet ratified the revised agreement; Korea said it was still awaiting a review of the agreement by its constitutional court, which it described as a procedural step, while Switzerland noted that ratification was linked to changes in its domestic procurement rules which still required review at both the federal and sub-federal levels.

Pending accessions

• Ukraine (submitted draft final offer on 26 May)
• Tajikistan
• Moldova
• China (5th revised GPA accession offer)
• Kyrgyz Republic (delayed due to the recent resignation of its government and its accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU))