Top officials from Pacific Rim countries expressed alarm Thursday over the worsening world economic outlook and called for further action to thwart growing trade protectionism. \"We note with concern the IMF\'s downward projection for global economic growth for this and next year and the rise in protectionist instances around the world,\" a joint statement from the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum said. \"These developments increase the urgency of further action to keep markets open.\" The statement was released after an annual meeting of foreign and trade ministers from APEC members, held this year in the Russian Far East port city of Vladivostok. The meeting is a prelude to a summit of leaders from the bloc, to be hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Saturday and Sunday. APEC brings together 21 economies surrounding the Pacific Ocean, spanning from China to Chile via the United States, and accounts for 44 percent of global trade. Its mission is to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers among members. Thursday\'s statement said APEC remained \"committed to roll back the trade-distorting or protectionist measures introduced since the outset\" of the world economic downturn. After forecasting in April that the global economy would expand by 3.5 percent this year, the IMF said in July it had cut 0.1 percent off the forecast.