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11 TPP nations may compile review draft in Aug.

Jiji Press HAKONE, Kanagawa (Jiji Press) — Chief negotiators from Japan and 10 other countries agreed Thursday to study concrete steps to put their Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement into force without U.S. participation.

The negotiators aim to compile a rough draft for a TPP review when they meet next in Australia from late August to early September, officials said.

“We’ll need a new international promise,” Japanese chief negotiator Kazuyoshi Umemoto told reporters after the latest meeting, held for two days in the hot spring resort town of Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture.

The negotiators had “deep discussions” on possible options and issues that need to be solved, said Umemoto, who chaired the meeting.

According to foreign sources with access to the meeting, the 11 countries are likely to basically maintain trade liberalization measures in the current accord, which was signed by 12 countries, including the United States, last year.

A promising idea calls for creating a protocol that would apply the terms of the TPP pact only to the participating members, the sources said.

During the latest meeting, some countries said they want to review rules on the protection of intellectual property rights on drugs that were strongly sought by the United States, which has left the TPP framework under the policy of U.S. President Donald Trump.

The chief negotiators reaffirmed the four principles for reviewing the TPP pact adopted at a ministerial meeting in Hanoi in May, including the need to avoid substantial revisions to the pact.

The 11 countries aim to reach an agreement on the TPP effectuation by November, when their leaders are scheduled to meet in Vietnam on the sidelines of a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

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