Delegates from 12 countries taking part in talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact Saturday morning here decided to extend the talks for another day through Sunday, aiming to reach a broad agreement in three areas, including bio-pharmaceuticals.
Delegates from each country continued the final stage of negotiations Sunday morning. The United States, Australia and others were also in last-minute talks in the bitterly contested field of bio-pharmaceuticals.
The ministerial session was initially scheduled to be held for two days and end on Thursday. The United States, which is leading the negotiations, had extended the session for two days Thursday - and with another extension, in a rare move, the talks ended up getting extra three days.
Speaking to reporters late Saturday night, Akira Amari, state minister in charge of TPP negotiations, said, "Some differences still remain in the talks over bio-drugs."
Delegates from the 12 countries were expected to hold a final plenary session on Sunday afternoon followed by a press conference, according to a source close to the negotiations.
Disagreements were almost resolved in the field of automobiles, and countries made further concessions in dairy products over the opening up of their markets.
Regarding the period of protection of intellectual property rights for bio-pharmaceuticals, the focus in the negotiations is how long makers should retain the rights to exclusively market these medicines.
The United States had previously insisted the period should be 12 years to protect U.S. pharmaceutical makers, but presented a new proposal this time to make the length of the period eight years.
Australia, Chile and some other countries have demanded that the period should be five years or shorter so they will be able to use lower-priced generic medicines earlier.
source by newsonjapan