Addressing the WTO Membership Challenge

Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


The proceeding chapters have touched on several reasons why the GPA might have remained plurilateral, along with the associated, history of ongoing efforts to promote procurement reforms across different levels of government and governance. Many of the lessons to be derived from these activities suggest contradictory paths of action, or are at least difficult to reconcile, especially across levels of governance. For example, the IFIs’ early ‘liberal-rationalistic approaches’ to containing the problem of corruption — including but not limited to unethical conduct in public procurement — have proven some merit in terms of promoting more efficient use of public funds, but, by failing to address the social and historical contingency of the institutions and norms they seek to reform, may miss a deeper set of political challenges relating to the locus and legitimacy of authority in a given society (Bukovansky, 2006).


Market Access Public Procurement Policy Space Domestic Regime Preceding Chapter 
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  1. 2.
    Here, it is the author’s contention that the fact that the state—or, more particularly, its procuring administrative entities—is the subject of the regulatory rules in question offers an unusually good point of departure for the study of authority—including what Jeffrey Dunoff has termed ‘changing patterns of authority’. See J. L. Dunoff, ‘The WTO Constitution, Judicial Power and Changing Patterns of Authority’, in V. Rittberger, M. Nettesheim et al. (eds), Authority in the global political economy (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    See, in particular, Article IV of the Provisional revisions to the GPA (dealing with developing countries) as well as Articles V and VIII (paragraph 3) and 5 (relating to the principle of integrity and its application) in WTO Committee on Government Procurement, Revision of the Agreement on Government Procurement as at 8 December 2006 — Prepared by the Secretariat (11 December 2006), WTO Doc GPA/W/297.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    The principles of New Public Management, once widely espoused by the World Bank, offer a major alternative to this regulatory ‘methodology’. NPM endeavours to introduce private sector management techniques into the public management function, empowering public authorities to exercise broad discretion within a results-oriented framework. For an interesting introduction to the political challenges this is still posing in the Caribbean States, see the discussion in P. Sutton, Public Sector Reform in the Commonwealth Caribbean: A Review of Recent Experiences, Working Paper No. 6 (Centre for International Governance Innovation, 2008).Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Paul Sutton has described such contexts in terms of the ‘Westminister— Whitehall’ model for the ‘political-administrative interface’. See the discussion in P. Sutton, Public Sector Reform in the Commonwealth Caribbean: A Review of Recent Experiences, Working Paper No. 6 (Centre for International Governance Innovation, 2008).Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    Robert Anderson and Christopher Yukins have recently characterized the main costs of GPA accession in terms of the direct costs of ‘preparing an offer and negotiating with existing Parties… costs related to the implementation of GPA requirements… and challenges and costs relating to the adjustment of domestic firms to competition from foreign entities based in other GPA Parties’. See R. D. Anderson and C. R. Yukins, International Public Procurement Developments in 2008; Public Procurement in a World Economic Crisis, Working Paper No. 458 (George Washington University Law School Public Law and Legal Theory Working Paper, 2009). There are important differences between the UNCITRAL Model Law and the GPA such as the fact that there is no need to negotiate accession to the former, but some of the costs of associated with implementation are similar.Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    The question of what properly constitutes ‘ownership’, however, has been the subject of heated debate. See the discussion in Lindsay Whitfield and Alastair Fraser’s ‘Introduction: Aid and Sovereignty’ in The politics of aid: African strategies for dealing with donors (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009a).Google Scholar
  7. 15.
    These terms were employed by Stanley Morris, the former head of the US delegation to the Financial Action Task Force. Its mutual evaluation system, as we have seen, had served as a model for that of the OECD Convention on Anti-bribery. See the discussion in S. E. Morris, ‘Mutual evaluation systems: an approach to ensuring progress in implementing international agreements’, American University International Law Review, vol. 15 (2000), pp. 768–779.Google Scholar
  8. 17.
    This section borrows heavily from S. L. Schooner, A Conversation About Malversation: The Post-Millennial US Experience Combating Corruption in Public Procurement, paper presented at the International Conference on Public Procurement: Global Revolution III, University of Nottingham (June 2006). This paper includes a good review of the challenges of applying professional approaches to accountability in a domestic procurement context.Google Scholar
  9. 19.
    Williams (2001), as cited in L. Whitfield and A. Fraser, ‘Introduction: Aid and Sovereignty’, in L. Whitfield (ed.), The politics of aid (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2009a).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Susan Brown-Shafii 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.World Trade InstituteUniversity of BernSwitzerland

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