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Asean Economic Integration Nothing to Fear, Student Says

  • Sothearith Im
  • VOA Khmer

Chap Chetra, a student at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

Chap Chetra, a student at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

Asean nations are moving toward full economic integration that would eliminate trade and labor barriers across the region.

WASHINGTON DC - Planned regional economic integration set for 2015 should not be viewed as a threat to Cambodia’s economy, but a chance for the country’s job-hungry youths to find employment, a graduate student of international studies told VOA Khmer.

“This integration allows the free flow of investment, goods, services, money and skilled labor,” said Chap Chetra, who was a guest for “New Voices,” a call-in show dedicated to finding future Cambodian academic leaders. “The flow, especially that of labor, will encourage serious competition for jobs in the region.”

Asean nations are moving toward full economic integration that would eliminate trade and labor barriers across the region.

“We need to choose skills with competitive advantages, such as in the fields of tourism and agriculture,” Chap Chetra, a student at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, said. “We have insufficient human resources in these two fields.”


Youth need to be more self-reliant in their own capacity-building, he said, or face being left behind.

“This is the age of globalization,” he said. “There are plenty of means for us to access information, but we need to have English and computer skills.”

Other areas the youth can work on are in what Chap Chetra characterized as “soft skills,” such as critical thinking, creativity and open-minded attitudes.


The government, too, has a role to play, he said. “The government should develop a communications infrastructure, such as telecommunications and the Internet, so that people can easily access information by themselves.” It should also help young people understand the integration plan, and Asean affairs in general, he said.

In the private sector, companies can help by being “patriotic” in their hiring, he said. And parents need to help shape the attitudes of their children to be ready for competition.
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