Delegations from 12 member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade (TPP) negotiations started a meeting on intellectual property (IP) in Tokyo on October 24.

Negotiations on IP issues are expected to be tough, as there is a wide range of technical and contentious issues. They are considered a bottleneck in the TPP process, while the negotiating nations aim to conclude an overall TPP deal by the end of this year.

Among issues in the area, the United States wants to extend patent terms for new drugs so that drug makers can recover their huge development costs, while Malaysia protests this idea, saying it could prevent the popularisation of cheaper generic medicine.

Meanwhile, Japan is calling for stiff sanctions on violations of intellectual property for animation series and cartoon characters.

The TPP countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

The deal, when realised, will see the establishment of a free trade area with a 800-million population which accounts for one third of global trade and nearly 40 percent of the world economic output.-VNA