Adviser, Government of Cambodia
Reconciling Economic Policy and Institution-Building Goals
TRIPS, intellectual property, property rights, legal frameworks, economic development, technical assistance, capacity building, WTO ratification, international trade
Supreme National Economic Council,
Thu Oct 29 2009
Sok Siphana discusses Cambodia’s efforts to join the World Trade Organization and to implement economic reform and development domestically. He discusses Cambodia’s transition to a market economy. Accession to the WTO offered an overarching goal that allowed the government to implement key reforms, including establishing legal frameworks protecting private property and regulating economic activity, standardizing government procedures with respect to foreign corporations, and overcoming entrenched interests. Siphana explains in detail the efforts of the WTO negotiation team to represent the Cambodian nation and to build consensus within the public sector, the private sector, the non-profit sector, international donors and the general populace. Siphana discusses the problems faced by Cambodia in these aims, including entrenched interests, political gamesmanship, lack of expertise and capacity building, bargaining inequality, language barriers and budgetary constraints.
At the time of the interview, Sok Siphana was adviser to the government of Cambodia. Between 1993 and 1999, he was employed as a legal adviser at the United Nations Development Programme. In 1999 he was appointed vice minister of commerce in Cambodia, where he was largely responsible for the nation’s accession to the World Trade Organization. After Cambodia’s successful accession to the WTO in 2004, he worked as director of technical cooperation at the International Trade Centre. Siphana holds a juris doctor degree from the Widener University School of Law and a doctoral degree in law from the Bond University School of Law.