Efforts to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement by the end of the year are to see talks take the form of 'inter-sessional' meetings for the remaining unresolved areas - which include the yarn-forward rule of origin in textiles and apparel.

The 12 countries negotiating the pact signalled progress at the most recent round of talks in Brunei last month, saying they made advances on market access, rules of origin, investment, financial services, intellectual property, competition, and environment.

However, with no future rounds currently scheduled, they will meet in a series of inter-sessional meetings over the coming weeks building up to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' meeting in Bali Indonesia from 1-8 October.

It is hoped that TPP leaders will get together on the sidelines of this event as they have in past years.

"This meeting will be an important milestone as the 12 countries work intensively to conclude this landmark agreement this year," the US Trade Representative's office said.

The goal is to conclude negotiations this year, in Bali in October or in the same location in December.

However, according to New Zealand based Professor Jane Kelsey, who was present at the Brunei round, the informal 'inter-sessional' meetings will all take place in North America, will be closed to the media and stakeholders, and "shrouded in secrecy".

She adds: "There are still many twists and turns to go in these negotiations. The problem is that we will have even less chance to know what they are and what political deals are being made to eliminate them."

As reported on just-style last week, US negotiators in the TPP say they continue to back the yarn-forward rule of origin in textiles and apparel, despite noting this is one of the "most sensitive" issues in the discussions.

Textiles are a major issue in the talks because the negotiating parties include Vietnam, a major apparel producer that mainly sources yarns and fabrics from China and other Asian nations.

And as US Trade Representative Michael Froman explained, "sensitive issues tend to be dealt with closer to the end of negotiations."