cape side logo
North Asia CAPE logo
Logo of the Southeast Asia CAPE
Logo of the Latin America CAPE


  -  Business   -  Southeast Asia Business   -  ASEAN under the Leadership of Cambodia in 2022: Focus and Implications
An image of the Independence Monument in Phnom Penh
ASEAN under the Leadership of Cambodia in 2022: Focus and Implications, with special guest keynote speaker: His Excellency Dr Sok Siphana

16 November 2021

ASEAN is currently New Zealand’s fourth largest trading partner and so plays an increasingly important role in both Asia-Pacific and Indo-Pacific discussions. New Zealand signed its first plurilateral free trade agreement, and ASEAN its first comprehensive free trade agreement, in the form of the AANZFTA (ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement) and both will also soon be part of the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) in January 2022.

So, what’s in store when ASEAN’s leadership comes under Cambodia in 2022? What are the potential implications for New Zealand and its engagement with ASEAN?

Join us for this session to hear from special guest H.E. Dr Sok Siphana on these topics and more.

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Tuesday 7 December
Lecture Theatre 2, Rutherford House, Victoria University of Wellington, Pipitea, Wellington 6011

HE Dr Sok Siphana is a practicing attorney and the Founding Partner at SokSiphana&associates, a law and consulting firm specialized in international trade and corporate law in Phnom Penh. He was appointed by Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen concurrently as Advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia and Advisor to the Supreme National Economic Council with rank of Minister in August 2009 and November 2011 respectively. He was reappointed as Senior Advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia in September 2018 with a rank of Senior Minister. He serves currently as the Chairman of the Board of the Asian Vision Institute (AVI) and previously as Chairman of the Board of the Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI), Cambodia’s oldest and prominent independent research institute.

During Cambodia Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2012, Dr SOK was attached to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs where he served, among other advisory functions, as Member of the ASEAN Task Force on Substantive Issues, ASEAN India Eminent Person Group Co-Chair, Cambodian Sherpa to G20 and High Level Cambodian Representative to G20 Development Working Group. In the lead to Cambodia hosting the 13th ASEM Summit in 2020, he was entrusted with the responsibility of ASEM SOM. From 2011 to 2018, he was also a Convenor of a weekly 45 minutes “Cambodia’s Global Dialogue” policy talk show at South East Asia TV (SEATV).

Previously from 1999 to 2005, he served as Secretary of State at the Ministry of Commerce, where he worked extensively on issues related to trade policies and development, commercial legal framework and economic integration. There, he was the lead negotiator in Cambodia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2003. From October 2005 to July 2009 he served as Director at the International Trade Center (ITC) a joint technical agency of UNCTAD and the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland.

From 1993-1998, he was the legal expert for the United Nations Development Programme attached to the Council for the Development of Cambodia.

Dr. Sok is a holder of a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Widener University School of Law in Delaware, United States (1992) and a Ph.D. from Bond University School of Law in Queensland, Australia (2009). He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. on Comparative Laws with the Université de Paris II Panthéon-Assas. In terms of international award he is the recipient of the New Zealand ASEAN 40 Years Anniversary Award awarded by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand Honorable Murray McCully 2015 as well as the Australia Alumni of the Year Award 2019.

The session will be concluded by a short reflection from David Pearson.

David has recently returned to New Zealand after working for 14 years in South East Asia. Before leaving New Zealand he carved out a successful career as a Business Advisor and Chartered Accountant. He advised all types and sizes of businesses from start up to recovery. He was also an established authority in Franchising and Licensing assisting many brands to grow and also International Brands restructure their relationships.

In 2008 David took up a 2 year VSA assignment in Cambodia as Business Development Advisor to the Rural Community. The brief was to “help farmers with sustainability and advise them on improving their incomes”. On completion of that assignment he began working for one of Cambodia’s largest and most successful conglomerates. He had financial oversight over 20+ companies in most business sectors and was the go-to guy for CEOs.

In 2014 he moved to Singapore for two years as CFO for an Aviation Construction industry. In 2016 he took a position with a local bank in Laos to advise and assist them become a digital bank. After this project he moved back to the same Cambodian Conglomerated as Director Special Projects and Executive Assistant to the Chairman. He was responsible for finding and reviewing projects for the group.

SEA has given him extensive experience in developing countries and in industries already well established in more developed environments. He can modestly say that if you talk about a business or industry he will most likely say “ I have done that”. He is open minded, culturally sensitive, results driven, focussed and easy to get on with. He is very motivated to promote NZ-ASEAN business.

Cambodia event logos ASEAN