Costa Rica's Accession to Government Procurement Agreement

Parties to the Government Procurement Agreement 2012 (GPA 2012) intensified negotiations on 20 March 2024, on Costa Rica’s accession to the GPA 2012 at a meeting of the Committee on Government Procurement. This was the Committee’s first meeting since Costa Rica circulated earlier in March its initial market access offer, a key document required to kick off negotiations. 

Costa Rica submitted its application to join the GPA 2012 in September 2023. It is the first Central American WTO member seeking to become a party to the Agreement. This accession would not only open new markets for Costa Rican businesses but also establish them as the first Central American WTO member to implement the transparency and fair competition standards outlined in the agreement.

To ensure open, fair and transparent conditions of competition in the government procurement markets, a number of World Trade Organization members have negotiated the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA).

The GPA is a plurilateral agreement within the framework of the WTO, meaning that not all WTO members are parties to the Agreement. 

The GPA is composed mainly of two parts: the text of the Agreement and parties’ market access schedules of commitments.

The text of the Agreement establishes rules requiring that open, fair and transparent conditions of competition be ensured in government procurement. However, these rules do not automatically apply to all procurement activities of each party. Rather, the coverage schedules play a critical role in determining whether a procurement activity is covered by the Agreement or not. Only those procurement activities that are carried out by covered entities purchasing listed goods, services or construction services of a value exceeding specified threshold values are covered by the Agreement.