President Viktor Yushchenko and EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson launched talks on Feb. 18 on creating a free trade area, after Kiev successfully sealed a bid for World Trade Organization (WTO) membership. As they met in Kiev the two men described the talks ahead as “challenging.” The Ukrainian president said that liberalization of trade relations between Ukraine and the EU would help modernize Ukraine’s economy. He pointed out that the EU was now Ukraine’s main trading partner. (AFP)

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