Netherlands less attractive to American companies: report

American companies settling in Europe are increasingly opting for a country other than the Netherlands. "The Netherlands is not automatically the first choice anymore", Patrick Mikkelsen, director of  AmCham, the American Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands, said to newspaper AD.

The Americans are critical of the Dutch business climate and believe that the Netherlands should implement changes quickly. Criticisms include high corporate tax in the Netherlands, and planned changes to a favorable tax regulation for expats. 

"There is indeed some concern", Mikkelsen said to the newspaper. "At first, the Netherlands was almost automatically the destination for American companies. But that is no longer the case. Now they also look at France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Switzerland for example."

American investments in the Netherlands are dropping. Last year there were a total of 68 investments from the United States, according to the annual report of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency. In 2016 there were 88 American Investments, and 75 and 2015. The number of jobs created by American investments dropped from well over 4 thousand in 2016 to less than 3 thousand last year. 

According to the newspaper, the Americans would prefer if the Dutch government doesn't change the expat tax regulation. The regulation lets employers pay up to 30 percent of wages tax free to foreign employees working temporarily in the Netherlands. In April the government announced that the duration of this regulation will be reduced from eight years to five years.

Mikkelsen also called the Netherlands' profit tax rate "not competitive" compared to some other countries like the United Kingdom. The Rutte III government plans to reduce this tax rate in steps. But AmCham feels this reduction does not go far enough. 

"The Netherlands is still an attractive country, with a highly educated population and good infrastructure. But we do want to send a signal", Mikkelsen said to the newspaper.