Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ASEAN economic community good for Cambodia

ASEAN economic community good for Cambodia

ASEAN economic community good for Cambodia


Hidetoshi Nishimura, executive director of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia, speaks in Phnom Penh earlier this week. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Hidetoshi Nishimura, executive director of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), sat down with the Post’s Rann Reuy to talk potential moves for ASEAN ahead of the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 (AEC).

ERIA’s activities mainly focus on research, what challenges do you see for Cambodian goods in the 2015 ASEAN Economic Community?
Cambodia, I think, is the youngest tiger in this region and its geographic situation makes for a very important asset as the system is liberalised. Cambodia has also very strong political and economic growth commitments. The most important thing is human resource development and connectivity. They (Cambodians) should not limit their thinking of all countries to goods, we can invite and we make power connectivity. That means we have ASEAN production networks.

Cambodia is facing a labour shortage, despite the current interest in investment here. How do you view this problem?
Labour mobility is now in different stages of discussion. Traditional ideas – for example in the EU – has people leave their hometowns and go crossing the border to work in different countries. But while the production network is established, production itself will be fragmented. It’s not necessary where people go to work, production must go to the best places.

Don’t worry about this issue, first a government makes the best investment situation and then the production networks come to rural areas. But in order to make that, electricity prices must be reduced.

You referred to the ‘best investment situation’. What exactly do you mean?
The most important thing for an investment situation is transparency and the next is electricity. Without electricity, it is impossible to produce anything, so in this case it is very important.

How do you think the government should handle workers striking for increased salaries?
Every worker has a right to appropriate payment, so the important thing is what goes on before going into this kind of conflict. I think there needs to be a kind of discussion, a sharing of information and a shared commitment to increase and share in the profit.

The important thing is consultation, sharing information and transparency.

Compared to other ASEAN nations, Cambodia’s per capita income is still low. What problems will we face when the AEC takes effect in 2015?
Based on our ERIA’s long-term focus, in at least 10 years, the Cambodian GDP will be double or maybe more. ASEAN as a whole is increasing by up to double of its GDP. It is very difficult to stay poor. It is impossible for your country to stay poor.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at [email protected]


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which