How the strong Netherlands-US relationship benefits your business
Article 3 minute read

How the strong Netherlands-US relationship benefits your business

10 June 2015

Following the King and Queen of the Netherlands’ first official visit to the United States of America last week, TMF Group’s Netherlands Managing Director (and Head of Benelux) Huib de Kanter with experts from the North American office look at how the strong trade relationship between the two nations equals international growth opportunities for companies on both sides of the Atlantic.

Last week while hosting King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima at the White House US President Barack Obama said he regarded the Netherlands one of his nation’s “oldest and most precious allies.”

Indeed the Netherlands holds one of the longest-standing diplomatic relationships with the US as it supported its declaration of independence in 1776 and the city of New York was originally founded by the Dutch as “New Amsterdam.”

The city of Holland in the state of Michigan was established by Dutch Americans and the area boasts the largest Dutch-American population in the US; just under half a million people.

When it comes to investment in each other’s countries the relationship is quite reciprocal and barrier-free as both nations are committed to free trade and share a liberal economic outlook.

The results of this approach speak for themselves:

  • the Netherlands is number one for American company foreign direct investment (FDI) with growth to USD 645 billion in 2012
  • trade of goods and services between the two nations reached nearly USD 90 billion in 2012
  • the Netherlands is the seventh largest foreign investor in the US (growth to USD 275 billion in 2012) and supports an estimated 700,000 jobs
  • more than 850 Dutch companies are based in the US including major insurance and banking firms, and companies in the chemical and oil sector 
  • more than 2,100 US companies have headquarters in the Netherlands, drawn to the country’s strategic location, highly skilled workforce, open infrastructure, attractive tax laws and pro-business government.

Major Dutch exports to the US include cheese, fresh produce, chemical and steel products, office machinery and beverages while the Netherlands imports chemical products from America along with computers and other electrical devices.

Disasters in recent times have brought the two nations even closer, with the US President pledging to continue supporting the Dutch investigation into the shooting down of flight MH17 over Ukraine which killed 298 passengers and crew; among them were 193 Dutch citizens.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the Netherlands shared its expertise in water and climate issues and the nations further partner each other in economic and environmental sustainability, with the US seeing the Dutch as leading the way in urban wind energy, green construction and bicycle policy.

As the Netherlands is a participant in the US Visa Waiver Program, Dutch nationals are able to travel to the US for certain business purposes for as long as 90 days without needing a visa. The same privilege is extended to US nationals visiting the Netherlands.

And of course the long-established Dutch-American friendship treaty (DAFT) enables US citizens to start businesses in the Netherlands and its territories, allowing them to bypass certain testing that is applied to other non-EU businesses.

While in Chicago last week the Dutch King and Queen attended a round-table discussion with top US executives to show further commitment to strengthening the social and economic links between the two nations.

Positive long-term relationships are widely considered to be key to business success and in the case of Netherlands-United States relations, the foundations are well and truly established for companies looking to move into these markets.

TMF Group’s global reach enables you to harness the international growth opportunity that the excellent Netherlands-United States relationship provides. Find out more about how our experts in the Netherlands and North America can assist.

Written by

Huib de Kanter

Former Head of Benelux

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