ECONOMY

In Brief

Traders threaten tough stand against unlicensed sales and kiosks Deputy Development Minister Kimon Koulouris told traders’ representatives yesterday he will clash «head on» with unlicensed traders and that any large extension of shop hours – especially favored by large retailers in view of next year’s Olympic Games – would apply only for the specific period. Athens Traders’ Association (ESA) Chairman Panagis Karellas said his organization was preparing to file suits against ministers if the reluctance to exercise tighter control on unlicenced trading persisted. He said ESA is in favor of a limited extension of shop hours and wants subsidization for hiring extra staff if it is decided that stores will stay open for longer hours and on Sundays during the Games. ESA also complained to Koulouris of unfair competition from kiosks which sell glasses, leather goods and even pharmaceuticals; furthermore, it argued all shops must be allowed to keep refrigerators with foodstuffs and refreshments during the period of the Games. Major event on business between Europe and the Arab world in Piraeus The government is planning an ambitious business gathering and exhibition, titled «Building New Bridges: Europe and the Arab World,» at the Piraeus Port Authority exhibition center from November 28 to December 4, expected to draw a large number of businesspeople from the EU, the Balkans and the Black Sea, and other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern nations. The event, sponsored by Foreign Minister George Papandreou and General Secretary of the Arab League Amr Moussa, will have six thematic units dealing with economic cooperation, transport and shipping, energy and oil, agriculture, tourism and culture. Compound interest Twenty-four main opposition New Democracy party deputies have tabled an amendment with more favorable terms for the settlement of outstanding debts on bank loans which have ballooned due to compound interest. The amendment «adapts legislation to Supreme Court jurisprudence, brings banks under the provisions applying to all Greeks, obliges banks not to include contract terms that violate international treaties and laws, suspends auctions for a reasonable time period and sets a maximum beyond which the debt cannot grow,» said a statement. OTE OTE Telecom, a former monopoly, will launch a consumer information campaign under the slogan «Our stable relationship» next week, focusing on its fixed-line services. The campaign, targeting both household and corporate clients, will last 14 months and will be combined with the Olympic Games, of which OTE is Grand Sponsor. Company officials said yesterday the rate of market share loss to alternative operators was slowing down and they expected the loss to amount to 8-10 percent for 2003. New products and rate cuts are planned for later in the fall. Eurobank EFG Eurobank Ergasias intends to considerably upgrade its majority-held subsidiaries in other Balkan countries through the application of advanced technology and the introduction of innovative products, officials said at a presentation to institutional investors yesterday. Specific sales initiatives to corporate and institutional investors are now under way in Greece itself.