Russia and Greece see scope for expanding business The commerce and industry chambers of Athens and Moscow signed a cooperation agreement yesterday during the Greek-Russian Business Conference on energy, tourism, new technologies and trade. The Athens chamber (EBEA), said its president, Drakoulis Foundoukakos, is looking forward to the implementation of a number of deals, particularly the agreement against double taxation and tax evasion regarding income and capital taxes of June 2000, and of the agreement on merchant shipping of December 2001. His Russian counterpart, Yevgeny Primakov, referred to Russian progress with growth reaching 7.3 percent last year and inflation contained, adding that the two countries’ relationship has fresh momentum. In Russia, 45 Greek companies have invested 69.2 million euros. Turkish tourism forges 16.4 percent ahead in Q1 ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s tourism revenues rose 16.4 percent year-on-year to $1.994 billion in the first quarter of 2005, the State Statistics Institute said yesterday. Tourism revenues topped $15.89 billion last year, up from $13.20 billion in 2003. Turkey expects to generate $18 billion from tourism in 2005 according to a pre-EU accession economic program. Revenues are seen at $21 billion in three years’ time. «The first quarter is the weakest period for tourism revenues. We expect them to rise in the summer and if the current trend is maintained, then $18 billion projection could comfortably be beaten,» Ak Investment’s Hakan Aklar said. Tourism revenues are a crucial source of foreign currency for Turkey as it tries to rein in a large current account deficit. The number of tourists jumped 30.1 percent year-on-year to 2.504 million in January-March, the statistics institute said yesterday. Mining The Mining Companies Association (SME) said yesterday the sector is still troubled by the complex legislation and long-lasting procedures over licensing, contradictory laws, excessive environmental safeguards, mistaken perceptions of state and local officials on sustainable development, and exorbitant local authority taxes. All this, SME said, have brought stagnation or even shrinkage of the mining sectors and more searching for deposits. «Growth and environmental protection are not and should not be conflicting notions but complementary. Utilizing these resources does not mean environmental destruction, only small-scale intervention, which mining companies compensate with significant restoration works,» SME stressed at its general meeting. Cheaper medicines The government yesterday presented proposals for the new way of determining the price of medicines that will lead to an average 5-7 percent reduction. The proposals will be discussed with interested parties and will probably take effect from June. ECO Design The benefits of ecological design by small and medium-sized enterprises in the sectors of electronic and electrical goods will be the focus of a workshop organized on May 13 in Thessaloniki organized by the Federation of Northern Greece Industries (SVVE) at its offices. It forms part of the European program ECO Design and attendance is free. For more information call 2310.539.817 or log on to www.ecodesignarc.info/servlet/is/289.