APEC Outlines of Pacific Trade Deal Reached

Posted November 12th, 2011 at 6:50 pm (UTC-5)
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VIDEO: APExpress 4 – 11/12/2011 5:06:00 PM – BC-ABCN1:wsObamaAPECSummit

APExpress 4 – 11/12/2011 5:03:00 PM – AP-APTN-2030: ++US APEC Hu))

The United States and eight other nations, at a meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, have reached the broad outlines of an agreement to create a Pacific Rim free trade zone.

In a joint statement Saturday, the leaders of nine nations called the Trans-Pacific Partnership a milestone toward their goal of linking their economies and liberalizing mutual trade and investment. They also expressed confidence that the accord will help create jobs, improve living standards and reduce poverty in their countries.

In addition to the United States, the partnership includes Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Japan also has expressed interest to join the group.

U.S. President Barack Obama is hosting a two-day meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders in his native state. He said the accord with a group of nations already doing some $200 billion in annual trade with the United States will have benefits for all involved because it will boost exports and create jobs.

He said the member nations have directed teams to complete work on the remaining details so the agreement can be finalized within the coming year.

The APEC summit begins a nine-day trip for the president aimed at improving U.S. ties with countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

China is not part of the talks, but President Hu Jintao said Saturday that the country supports efforts to build a free trade area of the Asia Pacific.

In talks with business executives, President Obama also discussed developments in Europe and said that there will be no economic growth there until the financial crisis is resolved. He said that the Asia-Pacific region could be an extraordinary engine for growth by moving to further reduce trade and investment barriers, if the European crisis can be contained.

From Hawaii, Mr. Obama will depart for a brief visit to Australia and then make his second presidential trip to Indonesia, where he spent part of his boyhood. He also will become the first U.S. president to attend the East Asia Summit, on Indonesia's island of Bali.