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Following decades of international negotiations and agreements, the world's multi-trillion-dollar public procurement market appears to be maturing into a free, open international market. To reach that point, nations must lower a broad array of barriers to trade in procurement. As the U.S. experience demonstrates, purchasing agencies, laboring under the constraints of domestic preferences, may effectively seek to promote free trade. At the same time, a variety of international organizations, from the World Trade Organization to Transparency International, have developed tools and instruments - including model codes and explicit nondiscrimination agreements - that ease barriers to trade in procurement. To accelerate the erosion of these barriers, this Article suggests assessing progress in four potentially overlapping steps: nondiscrimination, a political decision; harmonization, an effort to coordinate the international instruments; rationalization, an effort to enhance the efficiency of regimes launched under the international instruments; and, institutionalization, an integration of the evolving international procurement norms into the legal fabric of the nations entering the international free market in procurement.

GW Paper Series

GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 320, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 320