Philippines assumes observer status in World Trade Organization

THE Philippines formally assumed Observer Status under the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Member parties warmly welcomed the Philippines’ Observership in the Committee and expressed keen interest in the Philippines’ future accession to the Agreement.

The WTO Committee on Government Procurement, the body tasked to oversee the implementation of the GPA, unanimously approved the Philippines’ request for Observer Status at its formal meeting held on June 26.

Delivering the Philippine statement for the first time as Observer in the Committee, Philippine Permanent Representative to the WTO Ambassador Manuel A. J. Teehankee, and Government Procurement Policy Board executive director Rowena Candice Ruiz said that the Philippines “values our newly-approved Observer Status, as this permits us an opportunity to know more about the implementation of the Agreement, and to learn about other Members’ best practices and experiences.”

The GPA is the main WTO agreement that provides the framework for the conduct of international trade in government procurement among 48 WTO Members that signed the Agreement.

As Observer, the Philippines will be able to attend the Committee meetings, gain access to relevant information, and become more acquainted with the operation and administration of the Agreement, without undertaking any obligations.

Through its participation as observer in the Committee, the Philippines will have the opportunity to enhance its understanding of the GPA and exchange experiences and good practices in government procurement with other GPA parties and observers, consistent with the steps taken by the Philippine government to create a transparent, open and fair procurement system and the broader objective of promoting good governance.