Canada , Ukraine announce free trade talks


Canada 's Trade Minister Stockwell Day and Ukraine 's Economics Minister Bohdan Danylyshyn on Tuesday launched "free trade" talks for their countries.

Representatives are to meet in the coming months to discuss a range of bilateral trade and investment issues "to facilitate economic relations and fight protectionism," Day said in a statement during a visit to Kiev .

"Free trade negotiations could help to extend our deepening partnership," Day said. "We know the support is there -- on both sides."

According to Ottawa , a Canada-Ukraine free trade pact could boost Canadian exports of agricultural and seafood products, as well as machinery and pharmaceuticals to Ukraine .

It could also help address non-tariff barriers.

Canadian exports to Ukraine totaled 229.7 million Canadian dollars (215 million US dollars) last year, up 80 percent from the year before and 400 percent from 2004.

Over the past year, Canada has signed trade accords with Jordan , Peru and Colombia and has launched trade talks with the European Union.