World

Asia-Pacific ministers endorse China-backed trade pact, anti-corruption pledge

  • Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng speaks during a press conference on Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) related meetings at the China National Convention Center in Beijing, China  Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Rolex Dela Pena, Pool)

    Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng speaks during a press conference on Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) related meetings at the China National Convention Center in Beijing, China Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Rolex Dela Pena, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi gestures during a press conference on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) related meetings at the China National Convention Center in Beijing, China, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Rolex Dela Pena, Pool)

    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi gestures during a press conference on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) related meetings at the China National Convention Center in Beijing, China, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Rolex Dela Pena, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng speaks as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, listens during a press conference on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) related meetings at the China National Convention Center in Beijing, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Rolex Dela Pena, Pool)

    Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng speaks as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, listens during a press conference on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) related meetings at the China National Convention Center in Beijing, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Rolex Dela Pena, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

Ministers from Pacific Rim countries have endorsed a call to formally start work on a free-trade initiative seen as an effort by China to raise its influence in trade policy.

Chinese officials say ministers meeting ahead of next week's gathering of leaders from the United States, China, Japan and other countries at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit also endorsed a proposal to cooperate on fighting official corruption.

The trade initiative — the Free-Trade Area of the Asia Pacific — comes out of earlier promises by APEC governments to liberalize trade. It is being promoted by Beijing in what analysts see as a Chinese effort to gain influence in U.S.-dominated global trade and financial regulation.