Strategic trade policy to prevent crisis

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Saturday expressed its concern the current economic difficulties facing the country and called for a realistic plan to put economy back on rails. At this critical juncture the country needs is a bailout package to remain afloat followed by a new strategic trade policy designed after consultation with all the stakeholders which can fix economic problems through exports, said a press release here. Islamabad needs to consider a more strategic trade policy resulting in aggressive exports in to make economy self-reliant on a sustainable basis, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW. All the political parties seem to be focused on petty issues and unconcerned about the economic mess as the current account deficit for the FY2018 has touched $18 billion which was $4.87 billion two years ago, he added. Dr Murtaza Mughal said that during the last two years policymakers failed to check imports which jumped to 66.2 billion dollars in FY2018 to reverse the economic gains and erode forex reserves held by State Bank to below nine billion dollars.

Rapid devaluation and other measures increased exports by $2.7 billion which was not enough as exchange rate erosion took a toll on masses and added trillions of rupees to the debt burden, he observed.

The increase in exports failed to keep pace with the increased imports and the economy continued to consume $1.5 billion per month throughout the year.

Imposition of regulatory duty on many importable items and half-hearted measures of the State Bank has only resulted in high inflation and uncertainty.

Secy for developing quality cotton seeds

MULTAN (APP): Additional Secretary Agriculture (Planning) Dr Ghazanfar Ali Khan has said that the government was striving hard to develop best quality cotton seed verities for getting higher yield. He said this during inspection of different varieties cultivated at Cotton Research Institute here on Saturday. He urged upon cotton scientist to develop varieties which could have potential to bear extremity of weather and immense resistance. The cotton should have best fiber quality. He maintained that the cotton should meet demand of local textile industry.  He also hailed that the liaison between Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture and Research Institute would surely come up with good results. It would also improve capacity building of the scientists. The additional secretary agriculture also installed plant in line with tree plantation campaign. Director Research Institute Dr Sagheer Ahmed briefed that additional secretary about different varieties. He informed that the research institute had develop a good number of varieties.

He however added that work on varieties having immense resistance against climate changes was also in progress.

On this occasion, Vice Chancellor Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of agriculture was also present.

PHMA announces election schedule

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): The Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA) has initiated the process of its election for the year 2018-19. The association’s executive committee meeting was held here on Saturday to discuss the election schedule. According to PHMA Secretary Muhammad Ayyub, the association has to initiate the process in July and finish it by September 30, 2018, under the Directorate General of Trade Organizations (DGTO)'s rules. The annual elections of the members of Executive Committee of PHMA for the year 2018-19 would be held on Sept 25, 2018 while announcement of final result will be made on 26th Sept. According to the schedule, the elections would be held at Karachi, Lahore, Sialkot and Faisalabad offices. He said that last date for filing of nominations for election of executive committee members is 1st Sept while last day of withdrawal of nomination paper at PHMA Lahore office is 15th Sept. The secretary said that the PHMA is an association of manufacturers and exporters of knitwear apparel products.

This year the export of this sector is going to exceed $ 2.5 billion and taken the knitwear and woven garments together, the apparel sector fetches more than 5 billion dollars during 2017-18.

The EC meeting, while expressing grave concern over the widening trade deficit due to low exports, hoped that the government would design a comprehensive strategy with the consultation of business community to boost the exports.

Firm claims milestone in self-driving car

SAN FRANCISCO (Xinhua): Google's sister company of autonomous car business Waymo announced Friday that its self-driving cars have hit a new milestone with a record 8 million miles (about 12.8 million kilometers) on public roads. "Our cars have been on the move! Waymo has now self-driven over 8 million miles on public roads across 25 U.S. cities, and over 5 billion miles (about 8 billion kilometers) in simulation," Waymo tweeted Friday. The self-driving unit of Google's parent company Alphabet said the new figure doubles the total number of miles that it has traveled since 2017. Waymo's self-driving cars are now traveling 25,000 miles (about 40,000 kilometers) every day, which is twice what the average American drives in a whole year, the firm said in a Facebook post. "We're building the world's most experienced driver and preparing to launch our fully self-driving service," Waymo said on Twitter. Waymo's new record reflects that its early investment in self-driving technology has paid off and dwarfed its rivals by a huge margin.

Last year, Waymo said it had driven 4 million miles (about 6.4 million kilometers) on public roads, two times more than the number in eight months.

Waymo began as a Google self-driving car project in 2009 and has now grown into an independent autonomous car technology firm under Alphabet. The company currently operates more than 600 self-driving minivans running on public roads.