US President Barack Obama and eight Asia-Pacific leaders on Saturday agreed to "broad outlines" of a free-trade deal that they hope 12 other regional economies will eventually join, dpa reported.
"There are still plenty of details to work out, but we are confident that we can do so," Obama said on behalf of the nine leaders.
"So we've directed our teams to finalize this agreement in the coming year," he said. "It is an ambitious goal, but we are optimistic that we can get it done."
The planned Trans-Pacific Partnership would lower barriers to trade and investment, increase exports and "create more jobs for our people, which is my number-one priority," Obama said.
"Along with our trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia, the TPP will also help achieve my goal of doubling US exports, which support millions of American jobs," he said.
The combined trade of Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam made them the United States' fifth-largest trading partner, Obama said.
"We already do more than 200 billion dollars in trade with them every single year, and with nearly 500 million consumers between us, there's so much more that we can do together," he said.
In a joint statement, the nine nations said they were "delighted to have achieved this milestone in our common vision to establish a comprehensive, next-generation regional agreement that liberalizes trade and investment".
"We are confident that this agreement will be a model for ambition for other free trade agreements in the future," the statement said.
Obama received a boost on Friday after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said he had decided to join the TPP talks despite opposition from farmers and others who fear US-proposed tariff cuts would hurt them.
But Japan did not add its name to Saturday's joint statement.
The nine nations said they would "dedicate the resources necessary to conclude this landmark agreement as rapidly as possible" but they recognized the need to negotiate "sensitive issues that vary for each country".
The talks took place as part of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. Obama is scheduled to host the other 20 APEC leaders at a dinner on Saturday and talks on Sunday.