Canada, Mexico want to join talks on Asia-Pacific trade pact

Kirk said the agreement will include stronger protection of intellectual property rights, additional specific opportunities for U.S. goods, services and investment, and the elimination of various non-tariff barriers. 

"Along with Japan’s similar announcement this week, the desire of these North American nations to consult with TPP partners demonstrates the broadening momentum and dynamism of this ambitious effort toward economic integration across the Pacific.”

On Saturday, world trade leaders announced the broad outlines of an agreement on the TPP, a move that was expected, with the intention of completing negotiations on a legal framework "as rapidly as possible," probably some time next year.  

"We looked at the outline of the criteria set by the partnership and they are all criteria that Canada can easily meet," Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said during the trade summit, Reuters reported. 

"So it is something we're interested in moving forward on," he said.

Bruno Ferrari, Mexico's economy minister, told Reuters Sunday that his government would also ask to join the talks.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met with President Obama on Saturday following Noda's Friday announcement that his nation wants to explore participation in the TPP negotiations. 

Following the meeting, Obama said "that eliminating the barriers to trade between our two countries could provide an historic opportunity to deepen our economic relationship, as well as strengthen Japan's ties with some of its closest partners in the region."

U.S. trade officials said Saturday that there are other countries that have indicated their interest in joining the TPP, although they didn't provide any further information. 

Currently the deal is between the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam seeks to eliminate tariffs and other barriers to trade in the region as an avenue to reviving the world economy. 

Obama said this weekend that the aim is to complete the trade deal some time in 2012 and new members could slow down a final deal. 

U.S. trade officials said Saturday that talks with Japan — and now probably Canada and Mexico — would continue on a parallel track to the talks with the main group of nations. 

So far, China, the world's second largest economy behind the U.S., has yet to show much interest in joining the pact.