Pacific rim leaders mull ways to boost trade

By the Associated Press | November 12, 2011 | 12:40 AM EST

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, right, and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk confer before the start of an APEC ministerial meeting at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Friday, Nov. 11, 2011, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

HONOLULU (AP) — U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk says leaders of Asia-Pacific economies will deliver meaningful steps to boost trade and growth at their annual summit this weekend.

Kirk ended a meeting of regional trade ministers Friday with praise for Japan's plan to join efforts to forge a Pacific free trade bloc. He said leaders meeting in Hawaii intend to announce a broad outline for the plan.

He said the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership would complement other efforts to promote freer trade and that other countries can join if they are willing to meet the very high standards required.

China's trade minister, Chen Deming, said Beijing would seriously consider it if invited. Kirk said, "You should not wait for an invitation."