18 March 2015
Although Southeast Asian economies rely on international labour as a key element of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the progress of labour liberalisation has been disappointing. It is obstructed by domestic laws and regulations due to differing concerns of labour-exporting and labour-importing countries.
ASEAN recognises the crucial role that labour plays to help realise the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The region’s leaders have pledged to “hasten the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015 and to transform ASEAN into a region with free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labour, and freer flow of capital”.
Migration of labour is a crucial factor driving the Southeast Asian economies and mutual economic dependency is substantial. For example, Singapore has the highest ratio of foreign labour to the local population in the region. About 25 percent of Malaysia’s workforce consists of migrant workers who fill several sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture. Inward remittances from expatriates account for about 10 percent of the Philippines’ GDP annually.
…Kaewkamol Pitakdumrongkit is an Assistant Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
CMS / GPO / Online
Last updated on 23/11/2015