ECONOMY

In Brief

CSF inspectors due in Athens, expected to focus on improving allocation of funds European Union officials in charge of the Third Community Support Framework (CSFIII) investment-subsidy programs this week will begin their annual probe in meetings with government departments in Athens. The agenda is expected to include an examination of the allocation of funds, where Greece is seen as devoting excessive emphasis to infrastructure projects. CSFIII expires in 2006. A report by the independent monthly Economic and Industrial Review, «Greece After 2006,» presented yesterday, said Greece could have better used CSF funds to date, and is now at a key point, having to adopt the appropriate measures so that the next phase of CSF funds, no matter how reduced, is devoted to improving skills and the business climate. The prime minister’s economic adviser, Gikas Hardouvelis, said the focus in the next phase will be on the organization of governance. United States restores trade relations with Serbia-Montenegro WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Colin Powell has signed a decision to restore normal trade relations with Serbia and Montenegro, a US State Department official said yesterday. The United States revoked normal trade relations with the former Yugoslavia in 1992 due to the Balkan wars and human rights abuses, a Serbian Embassy official said. The decision had the effect of raising the tariffs on Serbian goods imported by the United States to about 40 percent, compared with 2 percent in normal trade, said the official, who asked not to be named. «It will be a great boost to the economy,» she added. (Reuters) Cypriot tourism Cyprus’s revenue from tourism fell 10.49 percent in the first nine months of the year compared to the same period a year ago, the statistics department said yesterday. Income for the January-September period fell to to 821.08 million Cyprus pounds ($1.63 billion) compared to 917.3 million last year. (Reuters) Japanese investors A three-day briefing of 23 representatives of Japanese institutional investors, with extensive presentations on prospects in the Greek economy, capital market and listed companies began at the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday. The presentation program by firms includes FG Europe (yesterday), Elval, Petzetakis, OPAP, CosmOTE, Motol Oil, Lymberis Publications, Hellenic Petroleum, Olympic Technical and Hellenic Exchanges. Aspis Aspis Bank has finalized the agreement for the acquisition of Standard Chartered Grindlays Bank’s two branches in Greece, as part of its strategy of «conservative» expansion into new activities from which it expects considerable benefits, the bank said in a statement. Aspis, now with 65 branches and assets of 1.6 billion euros, recently acquired the commercial banking operations of ABN AMRO in Greece and has indicated an interest in bidding for a stake in General Bank. Fuel fines The Development Ministry has fined three gasoline stations in Attica found to be selling adulterated fuels 39,600 euros, 57,290 euros and 150,000 euros, respectively. The three are located at 105 Dekeleias, Acharnon; 43 Gounari, Glyfada, and Leoforos NATO, in Aspropyrgos.