BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Aug 31- The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiators will now focus on the nitty-gritty aspects of the agreement beyond the 19th round of negotations here.
Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s Senior Director, J. Jayasiri, who is Malaysia’s chief negotiator, said the 20th round of negotiations would possibly not be held as negotiators have now progressed into difficult areas of the TPPA.
“They will no longer converge all it once as they did in this round and in the past 18 rounds,” he told Bernama after the conclusion of the 19th round of negotiations here on Friday.
The inter-sessional work aims to further advance the talks in the lead up to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in Bali, Indonesia in October, on the margins of which TPPA leaders are expected to meet.
Jayasiri said those areas that needed in-depth work included market access for goods and services as well as investments, state-owned enterprises, environment and intellectual property rights (IPR).
The TPPA is a comprehensive agreement which will advance regional economic integration and reduce barriers to trade and investment.
There are 29 chapters, in which five are on trade.
It will cover market access for goods, cross-border trade in services, investment, government procurement, customs and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, IPR, labour and environment.
Malaysia is among 12 TPPA member countries with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, US, Vietnam and Japan.
Nineteen rounds of negotiations began since March 2010 in Australia, which hosted the talks twice as did Malaysia, Brunei, New Zealand, Singapore and Peru.
The US hosted the negotiations five times, while talks were held once in Chile and Vietnam respectively.
The remaining member countries did not play hosts as Canada and Mexico only formally became TPPA negotiating participants in October last year, while Japan debuted as a negotiating participant in the last round of talks in Kota Kinabalu last month.
The 12-member TPPA will create a market of 790 million people with a combined gross domestic product of US$27 trillion, accounting for one third of global trade.