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Intellectual property rules among changes in final Trans-Pacific Partnership

More than 20 provisions were changed or removed in the final version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership as the signing date draws closer, Reuters reported.

Certain rules surrounding intellectual property protection of pharmaceuticals were among the amendments, which were originally demanded by U.S. negotiators, the report added. After being finalized in January, the trade pact is expected to be signed March 8 in Chile by 11 countries, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The agreement will also reduce tariffs for economies accounting for more than 13% of the global GDP, Reuters said.

President Donald Trump signaled in January that the U.S. might return to the table if it got a better deal, but New Zealand's Trade Minister David Parker said that prospect is unlikely for the next couple of years. Japan welcomed the positive stance toward the trade deal but said Feb. 20 that reopening negotiations to accommodate the U.S. would be difficult.

The trade pact is expected to come into force at the end of the year or in the first half of 2019, Parker said.