29.The 1994 Agreement on Government Procurement and the Revised Agreement on Government Procurement were laid on 18 February 2019, and the scrutiny period is scheduled to end on 25 March. They were considered by the Internal Market Sub-Committee at its meeting on 7 March.
30.The Agreement on Government Procurement (the GPA) is a plurilateral WTO agreement under which the Parties open their public procurement markets to each other. The GPA was first agreed in 1994, followed by an amended version—the Revised GPA—in 2012. The GPA does not automatically apply to all procurement activities of the Parties. Rather, it contains coverage schedules which define each Party’s commitments, or in other words, the level of access provided. GPA-covered procurement is estimated to be worth around £1.3 trillion per annum.
31.The UK participates in the GPA as an EU Member State. The Government therefore intends to deposit an instrument of accession as an independent Party. The UK’s accession to the GPA would be based on schedules that are substantially the same to the coverage given by the UK under the EU’s schedules. Furthermore, the Government has laid a draft Statutory Instrument that would maintain the same rights and remedies the UK currently gives to suppliers from GPA Parties for a period of eighteen months after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
32.Department for International Trade officials confirmed that the UK would receive substantially the same market access from all GPA Parties as is afforded to the EU. Chinese Taipei has not yet taken the necessary steps to give the UK the same access as the EU, but this is not expected to cause significant disruption for the UK.
33.The Explanatory Memoranda (EMs) accompanying the documents address UK accession to the GPA in a ‘deal’ and a ‘no deal’ scenario. Under a ‘deal’ scenario, the UK would continue to be covered by the GPA according to EU schedules for the duration of the transition period—the Government would therefore delay deposit of the instrument of accession.
34.In a ‘no deal’ scenario, the Government would deposit the instrument of accession as soon as possible after the expiry of the 21-day parliamentary scrutiny period required by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010—expected to be 25 March 2019. However, the GPA only enters into force for an acceding member 30 days after such an instrument is deposited. This means that, if the UK left the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019, there would be a period during which the UK would not be covered by the GPA. Department for International Trade officials estimated that coverage would resume between 26 and 28 April 2019. We recognise that access to some GPA Parties’ procurement markets may be maintained by other means, such as the domestic legislation of those Parties, but also note that an assessment of the impact of a gap in GPA coverage for UK suppliers has not been provided.
35.The EMs explain that “the devolved administrations have signalled their support for the UK’s efforts to accede to the GPA on the basis of current commitments”. It is also noted that the UK’s commitments as a WTO territory do not extend to the Overseas Territories or the Crown Dependencies, except for the Isle of Man, for which the Government will not make a declaration on participation, as the Isle of Man does not have any procuring entities listed in the UK’s market access offer.
36.We report the 1994 Agreement on Government Procurement and the Revised Agreement on Government Procurement for information.
37.The UK-US Mutual Recognition Agreement of Certificates of Conformity for Marine Equipment was laid on 18 February 2019, and the scrutiny period is scheduled to end on 25 March. It was considered by the External Affairs Sub-Committee at its meeting on 7 March.
38.In 2004 the European Community and the United States of America agreed on the mutual recognition of certificates of conformity for marine equipment. The Agreement covered a range of maritime equipment, including life-saving equipment, fire protection and navigational equipment. The UK-US Agreement replicates the effect of the EC-US Agreement, and no material changes have been made. This means that designated products complying with UK requirements will continue to be accepted for placing on board a US-registered vessel without the need for further testing or certification (and vice versa).
39.The Agreement will come into force once both Parties have written to confirm they have completed the necessary internal procedures, which the UK Government intends to be either at the end of any transition period agreed with the EU or on the date that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
40.We report the UK-US Mutual Recognition Agreement of Certificates of Conformity for Marine Equipment for information.
41.The UK-US Mutual Recognition Agreement was laid on 18 February 2019, and the scrutiny period is scheduled to end on 25 March. It was considered by the External Affairs Sub-Committee at its meeting on 7 March.
42.In 1998 a mutual recognition agreement covering various sectors was concluded by the European Community and the United States of America. This Agreement replicates the effect of the EC-US Agreement, thus enabling UK manufacturers in specified sectors to continue to have their products tested against US regulations in the UK by the same conformity assessment bodies as hitherto (and vice versa). No material changes have been made.
43.The sectors covered by the Agreement are telecommunications equipment, electromagnetic compatibility, and pharmaceutical good manufacturing practices. In the case of the latter, the Agreement allows for the mutual recognition of inspection documents assuring the manufacturing processes of certain pharmaceutical goods.
44.The Agreement will come into force once both Parties have written to confirm they have completed the necessary internal procedures, which the UK Government intends to be either at the end of any transition period agreed with the EU or on the date that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
45.We report the UK-US Mutual Recognition Agreement for information.
19 1994 Agreement on Government Procurement, CP 51, 2019: [accessed 7 March 2019]
20 Revised Agreement on Government Procurement, CP 52, 2019: [ accessed 7 March 2019]
21 The Parties to the GPA are: Armenia; Canada; the EU; Hong Kong; China; Iceland; Israel; Japan; Republic of Korea; Liechtenstein; Republic of Moldova; Netherlands with respect to Aruba; New Zealand; Norway; Singapore; Switzerland (accession to the Revised GPA pending); Chinese Taipei, Ukraine; and the United States
22 World Trade Organization, ‘Agreement on Government Procurement’: [accessed 1 March 2019]
23 Draft Regulations were laid by the Scottish Ministers for Scotland and UK Ministers for the rest of the UK: ; and ..
24 Agreement between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America on the Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Conformity for Marine Equipment, CP 53, 2019: [accessed 7 March 2019]
25 Agreement on Mutual Recognition Between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America, CP 54, 2019: [accessed 7 March 2019]