APEC: Canada, Mexico open to US-backed trade zone

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a discussion at the APEC CEO Summit, a gathering of business leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

November 13, 2011 4:21:59 PM PST
U.S. officials say Canada and Mexico have both expressed interest in joining a U.S.-backed trans-Pacific trade initiative. The move boosts President Barack Obama's ambitious agenda for the annual Asia-Pacific economic summit.

The White House press secretary issued a statement saying Obama welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's indication his government would begin talks on joining the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership.

It said that together with similar announcements by Japan and Mexico, the news shows the "broadening momentum and dynamism" of the effort to work toward an eventual regionwide free trade zone.

The U.S. Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, also welcomed the positive overtures from America's "neighbors and largest export markets."