ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Tuesday asked the government to discourage all imports except machinery for CPEC and industrial sector as half yearly trade deficit has jumped to 14.5 billion dollars.

Trade deficit has reached to an alarming level of 17.6 percent in the six months threatening annual target of 20.5 billion dollars, it said.

The deficit for whole year may hit the mark of 25 billion dollars due to falling exports and increased imports, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

He said that in the month of December exports fell by three percent while imports grew by 17.6 percent causing concerns. Overall exports fell by 3.82 percent in first half while imports have climbed by 10.2 percent to 24.4 billion dollars.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that deficit can be controlled by discouraging all imports except that for industrial purpose and destined for CPEC.