Fretting ‘ASEAN-alisatinon’

The vision regional leaders have for an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015 may become clearer after this week’s Economic Ministers meeting in Siem Reap, but not everyone has a rose-coloured view of what such integration might mean for Cambodia. … Students who have not mastered the English language also fear employment opportunities will fade into the face of stiffer competition for English skills, Kakada, who hopes to one day open her own travel agency, said. … The AEC’s proposed labour agreement – to facilitate work permits and relax foreign worker quotas – being discussed at the economic minister’s meeting only includes certain skilled sectors: architecture, engineering, accounting, surveying, medicine and tourism. … In a country where 50 per cent of the workforce has not finished primary school, AEC integration will be a challenge for Cambodia, but also a chance to catch up, according to Sok Siphanna, adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.