President Barack Obama said a commitment by eight other nations to join the U.S. in forging an Asia-Pacific trade accord within the next year is evidence that “American leadership is still welcome.”

Obama announced today that the officials agreed on a blueprint that will lead to drawing up a formal Trans-Pacific Partnership in the next 12 months, a deal that could create a model for expanded trade with more Asian countries.

Obama also said he would continue to press for reforms to address an undervalued Chinese currency that undercuts U.S. businesses as well as protections for intellectual property when he meets today with Chinese President Hu Jintao while at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Honolulu.