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TPP negotiator says another round of talks needed

Japan's chief negotiator in the TPP free trade talks says officials need to meet again to try to bridge gaps in divisive areas such as tariffs and intellectual property rights.

Officials from countries taking part in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks ended their latest round of meetings in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, on Saturday.

The negotiators discussed ways of narrowing their differences as they try to pave the way for a broad agreement in the next round of ministerial talks.

After the weeklong meeting, Japanese chief negotiator Koji Tsuruoka said the officials achieved their goal of setting a direction for the negotiations.

Tsuruoka says there was some progress on labor and quarantine issues.

But he says TPP negotiators remain divided over contentious issues such as tariffs, protection of intellectual property rights and preferential treatment for state-owned companies.

Tsuruoka says the officials need to meet again before the next round of ministerial-level talks.

Japanese and US officials will restart working-level talks in Washington on Monday to speed up the entire negotiating process. They will focus on agricultural tariffs and restrictions on auto imports.

Jul. 13, 2014 - Updated 05:31 UTC