Vietnam is joining 11 other countries at the 18th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in Malaysia from July 15–25.

The parties involved besides Vietnam are Japan, the US, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Singapore.

Negotiation sources said on July 16 that TPP free trade negotiations remain stalled over five topics including the key issue of market access or tariff elimination.

One market access proposal under discussion calls for all parties to agree on the removal of tariffs on all products before moratoriums are se up on the removal of tariffs for certain products of special concern to TPP participants, they said.

One of the source said it is likely that some of the decisions will be subjected to political decisions in the final phase.

The other four problematic issues are intellectual property rights, environmental problems, labour and electronic commerce, it said.

The 11 TPP negotiation participants plan to broadly agree on the TPP free trade agreement by October and sign the pact by the end of this year.

Negotiations have ended on five of the 29 planned chapters – trade facilitation, telecomunications development, small and medium-sized enterprises and have effectively been completed on nine others, one of the sources said.

Japan is set to join the negotiations of July 23 amidst the current round of talks that started on July 15 in Kota Kinabalu, eastern Malaysia.-VNA