Hundreds of UK firms turn to Netherlands with Brexit transition wrapping up
Hundreds of British companies are working on opening a branch in the Netherlands by the end of this year, when the Brexit transition period ends. The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) is receiving daily requests for information from British companies, AD reports.
The NFIA is currently in talks with 400 British companies who want to open a Dutch branch. "And that number will grow in the near future. The search in the Netherlands as business location halted in March due to the coronavirus, which meant that investments were postponed, but now everyone feels the increasing time pressure," Michiel Bakhuizen of the NFIA said to the newspaper.
The United Kingdom is already formally out of the EU, but a transition period applies until December 31, during which the UK is still seen as a member state in terms of trade. The EU and UK started negotiating on a trade agreement again in the summer. But it seems increasingly likely that there will be a so-called hard Brexit, with no trade agreement in place.
A hard Brexit will mean adjusted border controls and import tariffs. British companies are therefore very concerned that their products and services to the 446 million European consumers will be subject to strict licensing and high import tariffs next year. An office in the EU will keep the market accessible, and the Netherlands is a popular choice for that office, according to Bakhuizen.
"The Netherlands is close by because of connections by train, boat and plane," Bakhuizen said. "Our culture is close to the UK, and we have a number of key sectors that fit well with the UK: IT, fintech, media companies, health technology. Companies like that are now the first to come to the Netherlands due to the impending closure."