On July 15, 2009, Taiwan will become the 41st member of the Government Procurement Agreement ("GPA") of the World Trade Organization ("WTO").
As a member of the GPA, Taiwan is committed to open most of its government procurements valued over NT$6,520.- (approx. US$194,000) to international bidding by other GPA members.
Similarly, Taiwanese goods and services will be eligible to compete in the procurements of other GPA members above a certain monetary threshold.
The limit of value for bidding is case by case depending on its contents of the contract.
(For Japan's case see http://www5.cao.go.jp/access/japan/chans/tekiyouhyou.html )
Foreign companies competing for Taiwanese government contracts can now also expect equal treatment as well as a higher level of transparency and predictability. The GPA requires that members treat products and services from other members in a non-discriminatory manner.
Any disputes concerning these procedures or unequal treatment could be heard under the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding.
Taiwan began the process to join the GPA soon after its accession to the WTO in 2002.
Objections from China prevented the conclusion of the negotiation until December of 2008, when the WTO Committee on Government Procurement finally approved Taiwan's application.
GPA accession is an option in WTO members, this means not all WTO members are a part of GPA. Taiwan will be the fifth signatory of the GPA in East Asia, following Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. Other members of the GPA include the 27 members of the EU and the United States, Canada, Iceland, Israel, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Dutch Aruba. China has begun its accession talks, but is not expected to become a member in the near future.