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Foreign investment into the Netherlands rose by 70.7% to €2.85bn ($3.22bn) in 2018, as an increasing number of companies shift to the country amidst Brexit uncertainty. Alex Irwin-Hunt reports.

Some 372 companies invested in the Netherlands in 2018, creating 9847 jobs through an accompanying investment of €2.85bn, according to results published on the Invest in Holland website.

The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), which was responsible for 86% of the jobs created, managed to attract 248 foreign investment projects to the Netherlands with a total investment of €2.76bn.

The number of companies making a Brexit-related move to the Netherlands increased by 133% to 42 companies in 2018 year-on-year, accounting for 1923 jobs and some €291m in investments.

Companies within sectors which require permits to operate within the EU bloc, such as finance and media, have been drawn to the Netherlands, and especially Amsterdam, to restructure their European operations post-Brexit.

Sports media company DAZN established a development centre in Amsterdam, while Discovery, TVT Media and Bloomberg have announced their intention to invest in the Netherlands due to Brexit uncertainty. Financial services providers MarketAxess and Azimo, and maritime insurer UK P&I have also announced Brexit-related office openings.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), the EU’s medicine safety moderator, was forced to relocate its offices from London because pharmaceuticals regulation must be done within an EU member state. This led to Amsterdam winning the bid to host the agency in 2017 and the loss of 900 UK jobs as the EMA closed its London offices on 25 January 2019.

Numerous Japanese companies have announced Brexit-related moves from the UK to the Netherlands, including tech companies Panasonic and Sony, who are due to open their HQs in Amsterdam, and investment bank Norinchukin which has signalled an expansion of its offices in the Netherlands.

“Around one million people work for foreign companies in the Netherlands and an additional half a million work indirectly for these companies as suppliers, particularly SMEs,” said Eric Wiebes, Dutch minister of economic affairs and climate policy. “Due to growing international uncertainty surrounding Brexit and changing global trade policies, the importance of a good Dutch business climate for all of us is continually increasing.” 

The Invest in Holland network – comprised of the NFIA, its regional partners, and the Holland International Distribution Council – saysat the majority of the 9847 jobs created were within investments into HQs (2259 jobs), followed by marketing and sales offices (1834 jobs), distribution centres (1053 jobs), service centres (977), production sites (884) and R&D locations (755).

US companies created the majority of the jobs, accounting for 3185 jobs with a total accompanying investment of €1.19bn, followed by companies from the UK (1596 jobs), then China (614 jobs), Japan (580 jobs) and Germany (300 jobs).

The NFIA is in talks with a further 250 companies considering a change in their European structure due to Brexit, of which the majority are UK companies within the financial sector, media and advertising, life sciences and health, and logistics. These companies are also considering other options in countries such as Germany, France and Ireland.

This article is sourced from fDi Magazine
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