Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday called the agreement a “victory for multilateralism and free trade,” according to a report by the state-run Xinhua news agency. The statement by the Heads of State and Government states that the agreement demonstrates “our strong commitment to supporting economic recovery, inclusive development, job creation and strengthening regional supply chains, as well as our support for an open, rules-based open trade and investment agreement.” The pact reduces tariffs, opens up the services sector and establishes common rules on trade within the bloc. The agreement covers trade, services, investment, e-commerce, telecommunications and copyright. The agreement sets the conditions for trade in goods and services, cross-border investment and new rules in increasingly important areas, such as e-commerce and intellectual property. The impact on trade in manufactured goods between Asian nations will be particularly evident, analysts said. Southeast Asian heads of state and government met in Bangkok for a three-day, trade-dominated summit. ASEAN members are working to finalize a China-backed plan for the creation of the world`s largest free trade area. The heads of state and government of the signatories approved the terms of the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Bangkok last year, with the agreement officially signed on Sunday. In a joint statement, the signatories said the trade agreement would play an important role in pandemic recovery plans and help build the region`s resilience through an “inclusive and sustainable post-pandemic economic recovery process.” The agreement excludes the United States, which withdrew from an Asia-Pacific trade pact in 2017. Although China already has a number of bilateral trade agreements, this is the first time it has signed a regional multilateral trade pact. Read also: Joe Biden is hardly the free trader Asia hopes for: APEC Summit: Free Trade in Asia in the Age of Protectionism In a joint statement, country leaders said the trade deal would be an essential part of their post-pandemic recovery plans that forced countries around the world to block their economies.