The GATT Agreement on Government Procurement in Theory and Practice

21 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2009

See all articles by Charles Tiefer

Charles Tiefer

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Date Written: Summer 1997


When the Uruguay Round GATT Agreement on Government Procurement (AGP) became effective January 1, 1997, it appeared that American state and local government had eliminated their preference barriers against foreign suppliers. Upon closer examination, the author contends, this impression becomes misleading. By examining Congress's failure to repeal the Buy America Act, states' preferences for in-state suppliers, and AGP's limited scope, the author demonstrates how, even under AGP, Congress's desire to favor domestic employment continued to emerge. In addition, the author discusses how the sparse legal resources AGP granted to aggrieved foreign suppliers further reflected a desire to protect states' rights. Despite these protectionist undertones, the author posits that limited AGP remedies serve valuable political purposes that provide flexibility in the political sphere. For the author, this decision to forgo rigid legal rules demonstrates the government's preference for federalism, which, despite its effects on economics, makes good political sense.

Keywords: Uruguay Round GATT, Agreement on Government Procurement (AGP), federalism, "Buy America" Act, in-state suppliers, "fast track" , NAFTA, NASPO, free trade, international relations, congressional intent, Commerce Clause, market participant, state sovereignty, dual sovereignty

JEL Classification: K19, K33, K49, H87, F29

Suggested Citation

Tiefer, Charles, The GATT Agreement on Government Procurement in Theory and Practice (Summer 1997). University of Baltimore Law Review, Vol. 26, No. 3, 1997, Available at SSRN:

Charles Tiefer (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
United States

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