WTO diplomat: 42 Nations Nearing Deal on State Contracting to Unlock Billions in Commerce

October 18, 2011

An international deal is nearing agreement that would open up government contracting to more transparency and foreign competition and unlock tens of billions of dollars in new opportunities, a World Trade

Organization diplomat said Tuesday.Nicholas Niggli, a Swiss diplomat to the WTO who chairs its government procurement committee, said 42 nations, including the United States, the European Union, Canada and Japan, are overcoming most hurdles toward an agreement in mid-December when trade ministers gather in Geneva. 

Other nations that could join the deal include China, Jordan and Ukraine.

"I bet on the fact that we'll strike a deal," Niggli told reporters at WTO headquarters.

To many governments, the incentive is that they can find cheaper ways to do business and come up with more money to repay debt, he said. 

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