Student Visas Aren't Something I Would Be Looking At In An FTA, Says UK Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch also added that India has the most student visas that the UK issues, but an FTA is on trade that focus on trade matters, rather than bringing in other things that are not specific to it
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United Kingdom secretary of state for international trade Kemi Badenoch held talks, on Tuesday, with her counterpart India's commerce minister Piyush Goyal.
Speaking to CNBC-TV18, as reported, Kemi Badenoch said that the FTA priority is to have an ambitious and balanced free trade agreement and they would like to conclude negotiations by March or middle of next, but won't fix a timeline.
Being asked about the special interest shown on visas by students and business visitors and the UK's concern over it, Badenoch, according to a report by TOI, said that, "We need to look at them separately. The trade deal looks at mobility, which is different from migration, and we have a lot of great business people coming to the UK from India and we welcome them. They are very clear, very industrious, the same as the students. The trade deal is really around business and economic growth. So, student visas aren't something I would be looking at in an FTA."
She further added that the FTA text is something that survives the test of time which has to be sustainable. Moreover, India has the most student visas that the UK issues, but an FTA is on trade that focuses on trade matters, rather than bringing in other things that are not specific to it.
Commenting on the nature of the sixth round of FTA negotiation, Badenoch said that it is going to be mutually beneficial to both India and UK. She added, "We already have a lot of trade between the two countries, we are very close trading partners. And we want to build on our existing strong friendship with our ally, India."
In a nutshell, Badenoch expressed that, "We believe in free trade and a rules-based trading system. India is the largest democratic country on earth, and it also shares a lot of understanding of our legal systems and rules. There are also a few things, whether for legal, political or cultural reasons, where it is best not to be in the FTA."