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APEC leaders to work toward free trade area

By the CNN Wire Staff
APEC leaders said in a joint statement they would take steps toward a trans-Pacific trade treaty.
APEC leaders said in a joint statement they would take steps toward a trans-Pacific trade treaty.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 21 leaders wrap up a two-day economic summit in Yokohama, Japan
  • The group also talks about a "necessity to jointly address climate change"
  • Obama ends a 10-day trip to Asia aimed at opening "new markets for American products"

Yokohama, Japan (CNN) -- World leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on Sunday pledged to work toward a free trade area in the Asia-Pacific region.

"We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to achieving free and open trade and investment in the region," the leaders said in a joint statement at the end of their two-day summit in Yokohama, Japan.

The summit brought together 21 leaders from countries around the Pacific Rim.

But the group acknowledged challenges in the global economy and the environment.

"The Asia-Pacific regional economy is recovering from the recent economic and financial crisis, but uncertainty still remains," the leaders said. "We also face heightened challenges with regard to the protection of our environment and natural resources, including the necessity to jointly address climate change."

The summit also included the first formal talks between the Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan and the Chinese president Hu Jintao since a territorial dispute in September strained relations between the two.

This weekend marks the end of Obama's 10-day trip to Asia aimed at opening "new markets for American products in this fast-growing part of the world," according to his weekly address. He headed back to the United States on Sunday.

At the summit, Obama added, "In the 21st century, there is no need to view trade, commerce or economic growth as zero-sum games, where one country always has to prosper at the expense of another. If we work together and act together, strengthening our economic ties can be a win-win for all of our nations."

Obama pushes trade at APEC summit
APEC summit begins
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Obama has also pushed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is seen as a building block in trying to create a free-trade area in the Pacific Rim. The TPP would cut import tariffs for several countries.

The United States is scheduled to host next year's APEC summit in Hawaii.

CNN's Kyung Lah contributed to this report.

 
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