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China applies for joining WTO procurement agreement
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Finance Minister Xie Xuren signed a written application on behalf of China for joining the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) on Friday.

The signing in the capital marked that the country had officially started the process of joining the GPA, according to an announcement posted on the Ministry of Finance website.

The Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations submitted a list on the opening of the government procurement market to the Secretariat of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

It required its members opened up their domestic government procurement markets, as the GPA aimed to have the most free trade in the global market. It currently had 40 full member countries and regions.

The GPA, a plurilateral treaty, opens up most government contracts of its members to international competition. Suppliers of each GPA member had the right to participate in procedures for the award of government contracts of other GPA members.

China became a GPA observer in 2002. The government pledged last year to start the GPA entry negotiation process before the end of 2007.

Government procurement has a history more than 200 years in Western countries. China only introduced this practice in 1996 and enacted its law on government procurement into effect in 2003.

(Xinhua News Agency December 29, 2007)

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