The institutional evolution of the WTO Government Procurement Agreement : towards an understanding of the peripheries of domestic economic policies
The rules of the international economic order have traditionally sought to reduce trade barriers between national markets; domestic policy autonomy has been viewed as an inviolable sovereign freedom. The 1994 WTO Government Procurement Agreement requires Member States to introduce a series of administrative procedures for their tendering processes, as well as institutional avenues through which individual suppliers can invoke indirect "rights" they gain from these "common rules"; its positive disciplines represent a departure from the traditional, negative GAIT regulatory "methodology". This thesis involves a study of what these institutional changes have to say about economic policy-making and enforcement processes in an interdependent world. Part I presents an institutional history of the GPA and an analysis of how it works. Part II examines the kind of domestic intervention associated with the Agreement, concluding that the most significant interference with sovereigns' autonomy is neither strictly legislative nor administrative. The GPA's enforcement mechanism - in conjunction with the individual "rights" arising from its procedural obligations - "constitutionalises" the rights to national treatment it engenders. This implies a US style relationship between property and the state. Executive and legislative powers are separated and both are limited by law. Judicial-like entities, in turn, fulfill an arbitrator's role, charged with determining whether a government entity has acted in a manner consistent with its legally-delimited powers. The final section presents reasons why GPA Member States may have been willing to accept the "intervention" that is implicit in the Agreement, developing an argument that the GPA is a "means" to Members' "shared end" of facilitating the integration of markets and, most importantly, ensuring their subsequent integrity. States, in implementing the "common rules", act as agents on behalf of the economic order because, in a globalising world, cooperation is consistent with citizens' welfare. The way in which this cooperation is structured allows for heterogeneous political interests to be accommodated. To the extent that the GPA protects individual rights for "collective ends", it is not inconsistent with unitary state notions of sovereignty.