Ukraine and the European Union in the first half of 2011 will hold three rounds of negotiations on a free trade area, Deputy Economy Minister Valeriy Piatnytsky told reporters, according to UKRINFORM.

"Until the mid-year, three rounds (of negotiations) more will be held... Today, we are talking about the end of the negotiation process, rather than the signing (of an FTA agreement)," Piatnytsky said, adding that it will take some more time both the Ukrainian side and the EU to agree a package of documents to be submitted for signature.

He noted that this would require more than one month: "We would like to come to an end of the negotiation process, but the negotiation is a reflection of the balance of interests, and if there is no balance, then the negotiation process simply can not be completed."

According to Piatnytsky, FTA will be able to function fully in more than one year: "It may take 3, 5 or 10 years."

At the same time, the Deputy Minister is sure that the signing of an FTA agreement with the EU will occur in the near future.

Ukraine and the EU have been negotiating the Association Agreement since 2007. In 2008, negotiations began to establish a free trade zone, which should become part of the Association Agreement.

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