Ukraine wants to finish talks on a free-trade agreement with the European Union by the end of the year, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said on Tuesday.
"I would like the Ukrainian authorities to complete the agreement on cooperation and free trade by the end of this year," Yanukovich said at a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Ukraine has been engaged in negotiations with the EU on a free trade agreement since 2008, when the then President Viktor Yushchenko was pushing a determinedly pro-Western line.
Last fall, however Yanukovich rejected the deal, saying it would be too costly for his country's economy.
But on October 14, 2010, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said after visiting Brussels that he was "confident that we will, in the end, reach agreement on all points" of the free-trade deal.
If the sides agree on the deal, most Ukrainian goods may be exported to the EU without duties.