June 7, 2023
The government published on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ official website a note informing the withdrawal of Brazil’s accession offer to the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s Government Procurement Agreement (GPA)1. Brazil’s negotiations to accede to the GPA began in 2020, and, in July 2022, under Bolsonaro’s administration, the country presented its final offer, detailing the procuring entities, goods, services and thresholds to be covered by the agreement, as well as the intended exceptions.
The GPA aims to open its members’ government procurement markets to foreign competition in a reciprocal manner to the agreed extent. Since it is a plurilateral agreement, each applicant negotiates its terms of participation within the parties, binding only for those signatories. The GPA provides accountability to government procurement, establishing legal guarantees of equal treatment for the goods, services, and suppliers of the members in covered activities, which, according to the WTO, are worth an estimated USD 1.7 trillion annually.
However, according to the government’s note, the terms of Brazil’s offer were too comprehensive and “would impose severe limitations on the government’s procuring power as an instrument to promote the country's economic and social development, in particular to public health policies and the promotion of technology and innovation”. Also, as reported by news outlets2, with the offer as it was, Brazil would lose its bargaining power in the negotiations of the bilateral agreement between Mercosul and the European Union, which is still under ongoing discussions.