The WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) is considered to be the most relevant international legal framework when assessing public procurement practice (not only of industrial countries). The revised "sustainable" GPA ("green" technical specifications and award criteria) entered into force April 2014. There is an argument, according to which there is a wide (or a wider) margin for purchasing public entities to consider the production process in the context of the GPA compared to classical WTO law. This might not be evident at first glance from the perspective of a WTO lawyer used to the PPM debate, but not used to the public procurement context. The explanation is that there is a significant difference between an import ban and public procurement. Regulatory behaviour of public entities leads to a limitation of the margin wherein (private) consumer choice can be exercised, whereas government procurement implies choices of the public authorities acting as consumers themselves. Art. 68 of the new directive 2014/24/EU even allows to integrate environmental externalities when assessing lifecycle-cost. The draft version of a new Swiss public procurement regulation does include sustainability as a regulation goal ("Gesetzeszweck").
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