China will submit a sixth revised offer to join the World Trade Organization’s plurilateral Government Procurement Agreement that is expected to cover more state-owned enterprises and more provinces than its previous offers, according to Geneva sources.
[Daily News| February 27, 2016 |Inside US Trade]
The move by China, which submitted its last revised offer in December 2014, was welcomed by all GPA members, including the U.S. The announcement from China came at a Feb. 23 Committee on GPA informal meeting.
China had previously refused to come forward with a sixth revised offer, citing reforms it was making to its SOE and military procurement practices.
The next offer — which will be the seventh offer Beijing has put forward since it started negotiating its accession to the GPA — is expected to include more if not all Chinese provinces; China’s last offer covered 15 of its 22 provinces. Beijing is also expected to cover more SOEs in its next offer.
But there is a fundamental disagreement between China and other WTO members over Beijing’s coverage of SOEs. The Chinese government has long held the position that it does not have the authority to offer commitments on behalf of SOEs. Ownership of SOEs is at the central, subcentral and municipal levels, according to Geneva sources.
Other GPA members say that China should include in its offer coverage of SOEs that are not operating on a commercial basis. China argues that most of its SOEs are operating on a commercial basis, which means they do not need to be included in China’s offer.