Negotiators from 12 member countries of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) on August 22 gathered in Brunei for the 19th round of TPP negotiations, with Japan joining negotiations for the first time after it became a TPP member last month.

The nine-day round will focus on 10 issues, including intellectual property right, state-owned business and tariffs.

Marking the start of the nine-day round, a ministerial meeting opened early the same day in the context that all TPP members try to facilitate the talks so that an agreement can be reached this year.

Besides official meetings, ministers and ministerial-level officials of TPP’s member nations will also hold bilateral sessions to present their requests and offers related to tariffs.

TPP member countries currently includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. The 12 countries create a market of 790 million people and account for about one third of global trade.-VNA