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Commerce and industry minister Goyal: FTA talks with Canada, UK, EU to continue

ROME: Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said India intends to go ahead with negotiations for free trade agreements (FTAs) with the UK, the EU and Canada and stated that the government was only looking for temporary visa for Indian workers, professionals and students and was not pushing for migration through the proposed treaties. The minister said that ministers from the four European Free Trade Association countries — Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway — will be in Delhi on April 26 to discuss a possible trade agreement. The Gulf Cooperation Council — comprising UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar — will shortly name a new negotiator for talks with India. “Some people mix up mobility and immigration. They are two separate subjects. Mobility is about expanding trade and business, about temporary visas and people, who come temporarily into a country either for work or for studies or for trade. India is not seeking permanent immigration visas from any country. We are only looking to engage with countries on mobility,” he said here. The comments came amid repeated concerns in the British government, especially voiced by those such as home secretary Suella Braverman, suggesting that more visas could result in a higher number of Indians. Goyal said more temporary visas, such as those provided through trade agreements with the UAE and Australia, will help provide services, increase trade and investment, and help students stay back in those countries for work.