The United States said trade negotiations with eight Pacific partners made "important progress" in the latest round of talks that wrapped up in California on Tuesday.
The 13th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, aimed at creating a vast trade pact across the dynamic region, made advances on 20 areas under negotiation, the office of US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said.
The USTR noted "particularly significant" progress on a number of issues, such as customs, cross-border services, telecommunications and government procurement, in the July 2-10 talks in San Diego.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade priority for President Barack Obama, who has cast the potential pact as a way to boost US exports and jobs while preserving labor and environmental standards dear to his political base.
Negotiators representing Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam were at the US-hosted negotiations.
The USTR also said advances were made on rules of origin, investment, financial services, temporary entry and other issues.
It highlighted a new US proposal on intellectual property rights, dealing with copyright limitations and exceptions.
Negotiators will take the progress made on issues back to their capitals for review.
The next round of talks was scheduled for September 6-15 in Leesburg, Virginia.
USTR spokeswoman Carol Guthrie said the USTR notified Congress about upcoming negotiations with Canada and Mexico on their proposed TPP membership.
Letters on Mexico and Canada were sent to Congress on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, the spokeswoman told reporters.
According to the USTR, the notification triggers a 90-day period during which the Obama administration will consult with Congress on "objectives related to these new entrants" to the TPP negotiations.
The entry of Mexico and Canada to TPP negotiations depends on all current TPP members successfully concluding their domestic procedures.
Canada and Mexico, Washington's partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement trade bloc, won approval from TPP negotiators to join the potential trade pact at the Group of 20's June 18-19 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.