The Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations (CAMFEBA) yesterday launched an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) guidebook aimed at providing employers with practical recommendations to help businesses better understand the dynamic regional changes of integration.
The guidebook was produced through a partnership between the International Labour Organization and CAMFEBA with technical cooperation from the Cambodia Development Research Institute – a local independent think tank.
The book sums up key challenges that Cambodian employers face, such as lack of awareness and preparedness for a more inclusive economic region. It also recommends that companies should become more formalised – especially small to medium sized enterprises (SME) – and to be prepared for the possibility of mergers and acquisitions.
“This book will help Cambodian businesses understand the context and timelines of AEC as well as present them with ever-changing regional economic and commercial opportunities to assist them in the AEC,” said Matthew Rendall, deputy secretary general of CAMFEBA.
International Labour Organization representative Eunmee Lee, explained that in the long-term the AEC provides a platform to improve mobility within the regional market.
As products, services, labour and investment flow with increased ease, the AEC’s effects will change all levels of doing business, she said.
“It makes a lot of sense then for businesses to be more aware of what exactly the changes are and how to gain a profit,” she said.
Reach Ra, under secretary for the Ministry of Commerce, said the guidebook would benefit regional integration in the future.
“This guidebook will play an important role in Cambodia’s integration with responsive strategies towards the AEC,” he said.
While the AEC only came into effect at the end of last year, he said it had produced some tangible results such as reducing tariffs on most goods throughout the region to nearly zero, allowing for the free flow of goods.