Thai trade minister says progress made in free trade pact

BANGKOK (AP) — A Thai economic official says regional trade ministers made some progress toward completing a long-awaited free trade agreement, and final details are expected to be worked out later this month at talks in Vietnam.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said Tuesday at the end of five days of meetings in Bangkok that progress had been made on technical details, market access and investment in the planned Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Negotiations on the agreement began in 2012. It would cover goods, services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights.

Its members would include the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations and six of its dialogue partners: China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.