Busi­ness Big po­ten­tial for elec­tric pub­lic China will tackle US trade dis­pute in 2019: Min­is­ter trans­porta­tion in Oman: Ex­pert

PLAN­NING AHEAD: Sul­tanate should think ahead and pre­pare the coun­try for the ad­vent of elec­tric cars by putting in place the req­ui­site reg­u­la­tions and sup­port in­fra­struc­ture

Oman Daily Observer - - BUSINESS - CON­RAD PRABHU MUS­CAT, JAN 13

Pub­lic trans­porta­tion based on Elec­tric Ve­hi­cles (EV) has sig­nif­i­cant prom­ise in the Sul­tanate, pro­vided the rel­e­vant pol­i­cy­mak­ers and gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties ini­ti­ate the req­ui­site reg­u­la­tory and mar­ket­stim­u­lat­ing mea­sures to sup­port the in­tro­duc­tion of car­bon-free mo­bil­ity sys­tems, ac­cord­ing to a Mus­cat-based sus­tain­able so­lu­tions ex­pert.

Dr Oualid Ali (pic­tured), Founder and Pres­i­dent of the Fu­ture Cities Coun­cil — a prom­i­nent on­line ecosys­tem that ad­vo­cates for Sus­tain­able Smart Cities — said Oman should act proac­tively to pre­pare the coun­try for a fu­ture based on elec­tric cars, no­tably by putting in place the re­quired leg­isla­tive and in­fra­struc­ture frame­works.

“Elec­tric Ve­hi­cle (EV) based pub­lic trans­porta­tion has great po­ten­tial in Oman, but this will re­quire se­ri­ous ac­tion by de­ci­sion-mak­ers, such as the Min­istry of Trans­port and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and stake­holder agen­cies, like Asyad Group, for ex­am­ple,” Dr Ali stressed.

He was speak­ing ahead of next week’s emo­bil­ity Fo­rum — a global event that seeks to sup­port the Omani gov­ern­ment’s am­bi­tions to pre­pare the Sul­tanate for a smart, elec­tric, con­nected and au­tonomous low­car­bon mo­bil­ity fu­ture. The day-long event, set to take place at the Hor­muz Grand Mus­cat on Jan­uary 20, has been or­gan­ised by Global EVRT, a Uk­based or­gan­i­sa­tion that ad­vo­cates for ac­cel­er­ated elec­tric ve­hi­cle adop­tion in the cre­ation of smart and sus­tain­able so­ci­eties.

Dr Ali, who is also Di­rec­tor of the Train­ing and Smart So­lu­tions Cen­tre (TSSC) at the Ger­man Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy in Oman (Gutech), will de­liver a keynote ad­dress on the theme, ‘Elec­tric Ve­hi­cles for Fu­ture Smart and Sus­tain­able Cities: Op­por­tu­ni­ties and Chal­lenges for Oman’.

In com­ments to the Ob­server, the ex­pert said the world has lit­tle choice but to em­brace low-car­bon mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions in the face of for­mi­da­ble chal­lenges such as ru­n­away pop­u­la­tion growth, ur­ban­iza­tion, and cli­mate change.

“Two-thirds of the global pop­u­la­tion will be liv­ing in cities by 2050 where mo­bil­ity be­comes the lifeblood of these cities,” said Dr Ali. The fu­ture of trans­porta­tion, he pointed out, will not be based on elec­tric ve­hi­cles alone. “We should also think of au­tonomous mo­bil­ity, con­nected mo­bil­ity, and Mo­bil­ity as a ser­vice (MASS) and we should pre­pare the full ecosys­tem for such modes of fu­ture mo­bil­ity,” he stressed.

In this re­gard, he urged Oman to make a greater com­mit­ment to the em­brace of Elec­tric Ve­hi­cle based trans­porta­tion. “We should be aware that the cur­rent trends are in favour of Elec­tric Ve­hi­cles — prices are down, ranges are higher, and lux­ury is still the norm, as is ev­i­dent from the lat­est Tesla models. More­over, we should keep in mind that fos­sil-based mo­tor fu­els are not go­ing to last for­ever, with a ma­jor­ity of Orig­i­nal Equip­ment Man­u­fac­tur­ers (OEMS) likely to move away from fu­el­based cars in the near fu­ture.”

Dr Ali re­cently helped es­tab­lish the Fu­ture Cities Coun­cil, which he de­scribes as an on­line ecosys­tem plat­form that en­cour­ages in­di­vid­u­als and or­gan­i­sa­tions from the quadru­ple helix — academia, gov­ern­ment, in­dus­try and civic so­ci­ety — to come up with ideas and so­lu­tions to solve the prob­lems and chal­lenges of the fu­ture in gen­eral and par­tic­u­larly for fu­ture cities.

A keen pro­po­nent of Smart Cities, the ex­pert sees in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy play­ing a crit­i­cal role in the growth and sus­te­nance of ur­ban neigh­bour­hoods where its in­hab­i­tants can en­joy a cer­tain qual­ity of life, while also car­ing for the en­vi­ron­ment and the planet. Elec­tric Ve­hi­cles, along with the In­ter­net of Things (IOT), Big Data, and so on, will be vi­tal to the suc­cess of Smart Cities, he noted. BEI­JING: China will work to straighten out trade fric­tions with the US this year, the coun­try’s com­merce min­is­ter told state me­dia, fol­low­ing talks with US ne­go­tia­tors this week.

A large US del­e­ga­tion ended a three-day visit to Bei­jing on Wed­nes­day in the first face to face trade talks since Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping in De­cem­ber pledged a three-month truce in the es­ca­lat­ing tar­iff spat.

China said the talks had “laid the foun­da­tion” to re­solve mu­tual con­cerns on trade.

“We will prop­erly han­dle the China-us eco­nomic and trade fric­tions” this year, com­merce min­is­ter Zhong Shan said, ac­cord­ing to a Satur­day re­port by state me­dia out­let Xin­hua.

Zhong said Bei­jing will also pro­mote out­side in­vest­ment, work to pass a for­eign in­vest­ment law and im­prove its dis­pute res­o­lu­tion sys­tem, Xin­hua re­ported.

China’s pol­i­cy­mak­ers have long promised a more open and free mar­ket with bet­ter pro­tec­tions for for­eign in­vestors, but of­fi­cials have been slow to make good on those pledges — lead­ing the Euro­pean Union Cham­ber of Com­merce in China to coin the term “prom­ise fa­tigue”.

Zhong said China’s neg­a­tive list — which restricts in­vest­ment in cer­tain in­dus­tries — will be fur­ther slimmed down, while Bei­jing also in­tends to ex­pand eco­nomic sec­tors open for for­eign in­vest­ment with­out the need for a Chi­nese joint-ven­ture part­ner.

The min­is­ter specif­i­cally out­lined a push for for­eign in­vest­ment in man­u­fac­tur­ing, high-tech in­dus­tries and in­vest­ment in China’s in­ner re­gions — pledges which are sim­i­lar to prom­ises made last year.

Push­ing Bei­jing to im­ple­ment eco­nomic re­forms and fur­ther open up ar­eas for US in­vest­ment is a fo­cus in trade ne­go­ti­a­tions with Wash­ing­ton.

(Pic­ture for il­lus­tra­tion only)

China’s Com­merce Min­is­ter Zhong Shan. — AFP

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