133.The Government’s Negotiating Objectives for government procurement were to secure access that goes further than the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) and is based on clear and enforceable standards; to develop improved rules; and ensure appropriate regard to public interests and services, such as the NHS.
134.The Procurement Chapter contains new commitments Australia has not offered to any other trading partner. As UK Deputy Chief Negotiator James Clarke told us, Australia “has offered us more than it has offered any other country. It is in the level of access and the amount of procurement spend federally and in some cases sub-federally. It is a really significant amount”. The agreement also includes rules in relation to promoting and maintaining environmental, social and labour protections.
135.At the time of writing, legislation to implement the agreement’s procurement provisions had already been introduced in the Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill. It is further intended by the Government that this will be repealed and replaced by Sections 81–83 and Schedules 9 and 11 of the Procurement Bill. The use of a regulation-making power to implement procurement chapters of future FTAs will be a matter for debate on both bills.
150 (James Clarke)