The leaders of China and another 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region have signed one of the biggest free trade deals in history, covering 2.2 billion people and 30% of the world’s economic output. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed over a video link on Sunday after eight years of negotiations. Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea signed the deal, alongside members of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. The deal sets the terms of trade in goods and services, cross-border investment and new rules for increasingly important areas such as electronic commerce and intellectual property. The effect on the trade of finished goods between Asian nations will be particularly marked, analysts have said.