The 12 countries in the ongoing talks for a Pacific free trade agreement have yet to resolve their differences over outstanding issues after wrapping up their working-level talks in Vietnam on Thursday, sources engaged in the negotiations said.
It is unlikely that the negotiating members will reach a broad agreement at an upcoming ministerial meeting on Monday and Tuesday in Singapore, despite hopes for drastic progress after Tokyo and Washington moved closer on their bilateral issues, the sources said.
At a four-day working-level meeting through Thursday in Ho Chi Minh City, chief negotiators from the United States, Japan and the 10 other countries discussed tariffs, intellectual property rights and the reform of state-owned firms, among other topics.
One official who participated in the gathering in Vietnam said the 12 countries did move “closer to a deal.”
According to a Japanese government official, there has been progress in the area of intellectual property rights — dealing with topics such as the duration of patents for new medicines and copyrights for movies and music — in which emerging economies such as Malaysia and Vietnam have been at odds with the United States.
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