Top trade negotiators from 12 countries will hold 10-day talks in Hanoi from Monday, aiming to clinch a broad accord on a proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership pact by the end of November.
The focus is how much groundwork the 12 countries, including Japan and the United States, can make to iron out their differences over thorny issues such as intellectual property right protection and preferential treatment of state-owned enterprises, informed sources said.
Japan and the United Sates will hold bilateral working-level talks on issues involving automobiles for three days from Wednesday and agricultural products for two days from Sept. 9.
The upcoming meeting of the top negotiators “will play an extremely important role” in realizing a broad agreement among the negotiating parties by the end of November as sought by U.S. President Barack Obama, Japan’s TPP Minister Akira Amari has said.
“Ideally, Japan and the United States should reach a ministerial-level agreement by late September,” Amari also said, indicating the possibility of his meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman in the near future.
At the meeting in Hanoi, the TPP negotiators will speed up efforts to resolve technical problems that can be handled among them. Unlike at the previous meeting in July, the negotiators will deal with the thorny issues over which the advanced and developing countries are sharply divided.
The participants will try to lay ground for political decisions, bearing in mind that the 12 TPP nations may hold a ministerial meeting in October.
Japan’s top negotiator, Koji Tsuruoka, will attend the Hanoi talks. The 12 countries will hold a plenary session from Wednesday, as well as bilateral talks and meetings of working groups on specific areas.