International Trade:

Efforts to Open Foreign Procurement Markets

T-GGD-94-155: Published: May 19, 1994. Publicly Released: May 19, 1994.

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GAO discussed discrimination in foreign government procurement. GAO noted that: (1) the 1979 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) negotiations on government procurement did not meet U.S. economic expectations; (2) the United States' objective in the Uruguay Round of GATT was to broaden telecommunications and electrical utility markets and competition for services and construction contracts, and improve its procurement procedures; (3) although new GATT procurement agreements should fulfill many U.S. negotiating objectives, the United States does not have access to foreign government-controlled telecommunications markets; (4) the United States considered the Japanese and Canadian offers for additional coverage to be insufficient; (5) the effectiveness of the agreement will depend on how well it is implemented; (6) since implementation has been difficult in the past, the United States needs to carefully monitor how the agreement is being carried out in new areas; (7) the U.S. Trade Representative did not identify any new countries under the agreement in 1994 and will continue sanctions against the European Union, since it would not open its telecommunications market; and (8) title VII of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act can be of future use in getting other countries to join the code and achieving unfulfilled U.S. negotiating objectives.

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