Grains exporter Canada and Morocco, among the region's top wheat importers, on Thursday announced the start of negotiations for a free trade agreement, Morocco's official media reported.

Visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Morocco is an important trade partner for Canada, especially in farm products, Morocco's official MAP news agency quoted him as saying.

He did not set a timeframe for the completion of the talks.

Morocco, among the world's 10 biggest wheat importers, buys most of its needs of the commodity from its biggest trade partner the European Union, the Black Sea and the United States.

Canada's share of Morocco's total imports lags behind trade partners in farther parts of the globe, official data shows.

Morocco, a country of 32 million already has free trade agreements with the EU, the U.S., Turkey and Egypt.

Canada meanwhile is negotiating a free trade agreement with the EU.