Chief negotiators from 12 countries aiming to sign a Pacific free trade initiative finished their four-day talks Sunday, a Japanese official said, apparently without major progress on sticking points.
The trade officials from the United States, Japan and 10 other countries gathered in a Washington suburb with intellectual property, including data on new drugs, and reform of state-owned entities as their main issues, according to negotiation sources.
The meeting of chief TPP negotiators resumed after a bipartisan group of influential U.S. lawmakers introduced a bill seen as a key step to accelerating the multilateral negotiations.
The bill is aimed at granting U.S. President Barack Obama authority to sign trade deals including the U.S.-led TPP by only asking the legislature to vote yes or no without amendments.
It has passed the relevant committees of the Senate and House of Representatives and is awaiting plenary discussion.
The gathering in Washington came after TPP officials held a meeting in Hawaii last month without breakthrough.
Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are expected to discuss the trade issue in their meeting on Tuesday. The U.S. and Japanese economies account for a combined 80 percent of the envisioned TPP area.
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