Obama says broad outlines agreed on Pacific trade deal
US president Barack Obama has announced the framework for a vast free trade agreement spanning the Pacific at the APEC summit in Hawaii.
Mr Obama welcomed leaders from nearly 20 other Asia-Pacific nations to his native Hawaii.
Ahead of the full summit of the APEC bloc, Mr Obama said nine nations had reached a "broad outline" on a free trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, but that they would need to work out the fine print.
Mr Obama has set a goal of doubling exports to create badly needed jobs at home. But he also hopes that the TPP will serve as a strategic linchpin as the United States winds down wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and refocuses on Asia.
"The United States is a Pacific power and we are here to stay," Mr Obama told a meeting with chief executives of major companies from the APEC region.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who will meet Mr Obama in Hawaii, gave a major boost ahead of the summit as his nation became the 10th member of the TPP, meaning that it will cover more than one-third of the global economy.
Australia's prime minister, Julia Gillard, says she's delighted they've reached a broad consensus on the TPP framework.
Both the Australian prime minister and trade minister Craig Emerson say it's too early to say how much it's worth to the Australian economy, but Ms Gillard says it will mean more jobs.