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Leaders of Pacific Rim economies are gathering in Singapore to discuss recovering from the global financial crisis and promoting free trade.

Leaders of the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation have stressed that the global recovery is still fragile, and more coordinated efforts are needed to overcome protectionism and have stable growth.

The Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, spoke Saturday about establishing a new model for cooperation that he calls the "Asia-Pacific Community".

Mr. Rudd said, "Our vision for the future is how do we create an institution which draws all these economies.  And, most importantly, together with an agenda which covers the political, security, and economic space."

The U.S. trade representative, Ron Kirk, gave further details on President  Barack Obama's announcement in Tokyo that the United States would engage members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

"We believe that a high standard regional trade agreement under the Trans-Pacific partnership can help bring home to the American people the jobs and economic prosperity that are in fact the promise of a global trading society," said Kirk.

The TPP's members are Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore.

President Obama, on his first official visit to Asia, arrives in Singapore late Saturday to join the APEC leaders.