The Netherlands woos Indian investors as UK prepares for Brexit

      06/11/2019

The Netherlands is keen to serve as a potential hub for Indian investments into the European Union after Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc and has intensified the process of scouting for investors considering expansion of their operations in Europe.

“By making the Netherlands the hub for their investments in the EU, Indian companies stand to benefit from our favourable location, fast and reliable regulators, accessibility, efficient legal infrastructure to resolve conflicts and our competition policy,” said Jeroen Nijland, Commissioner, Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), in an interaction.

Nijland was recently in India to meet Indian investors who want to establish or expand their operations in the country. “Hopefully we can soon engage at the government level to discuss more ways to invite Indian businesses to set up their operations in the Netherlands,” he said.

The Commissioner said as a major trading partner and the main port of Europe, his country was hit hard by the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU, but Brexit also offered opportunities.

Nearly 20 per cent of India’s exports enter Europe through the Netherland’s ports, making it India’s ‘Gateway to Europe’, Nijland said.

“Our population is highly educated and has good language skills, we have excellent logistics and infrastructure and our digital connections are among the best in the world. In addition, our business climate is well known internationally, and we have a competitive tax system, which makes the Netherlands attractive hub for Indian companies,” he added.

The Netherlands is emerging as an attractive destination for Indian firms with over 180 Indian companies having set up their European operations in the country.

“Few of the large Indian business portfolios that have been acquired through mergers and acquisitions include Tata Steel (Corus), Serum Institute (Bilthoven Biologicals) and Apollo Tyres (Vredestein). Many more Indian companies are exploring the possibilities for future tie-ups,” the Commissioner said.

The Netherlands was the second largest destination for Foreign Direct Investment by Indian companies, after Singapore, with investments worth $12.8 billion in 2017, Nijland pointed out.

The country hosts the second largest Indian Diaspora (after UK) in Europe and the largest Indian Diaspora community on mainland Europe, totalling around 2,35,000, comprising 35,000 Indians and 2,00,000 Suriname-Hindustani community of Indian origin. The Diaspora forms an important link between the two countries and facilitates people-to-people contacts, he added.