• Kyodo

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Chief negotiators from the 12 countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade initiative will gather in New York starting Monday, with an eye on a fresh ministerial meeting to secure a deal, according to Japanese officials.

The weeklong session of negotiations through Feb. 1 comes as Japan, the United States and 10 other countries are striving to conclude the five-year-old talks by this spring, given that Washington will enter campaign mode later this year for the presidential election in 2016.

The negotiators will focus on contentious areas such as intellectual property rights while also engaging in bilateral talks on tariffs, the officials said on Thursday.

The 10 other negotiating members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

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