British companies rush to the Netherlands before EU trade ties are severed

Throughout the long drama that is Brexit, companies and Brits alike have been relocating to the Netherlands. The UK is now officially out of the EU, but as negotiations for new trade agreements continued this summer, hundreds more companies are pushing to skip over to Holland. 

The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) are currently communicating with more than 400 companies hoping to skip over the North Sea, reports AD. This is of course to maintain good access to the European market of 446 million customers.

Oncoming hard Brexit

On December 31, the transition period for UK-EU trade ends, and a new trade agreement (yet to be determined) will be in place. This fast approaching hard Brexit has put pressure on companies to make the move.

“The search in the Netherlands as a business location has been halted since March due to the corona virus, which has postponed investments,” says Michiel Bakhuizen of the NFIA, “but now everyone feels the increasing time pressure.”

With the hard Brexit, border controls and import tariffs will become the new norm for British companies wanting to trade in the EU. If negotiations are not fruitful in the next two weeks, British companies fear these tariffs will be high.

The exodus continues

The Netherlands is a top choice for the Brits as Dutch culture is relatively similar to theirs compared to other EU countries. The Netherlands is also close to the UK, making the move a little more smooth. Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, NFIA noted 140 UK companies moved to the Netherlands. The reality of the approaching hard Brexit has certainly kicked this up a few notches.

But most companies making this move are not completely removing themselves from the UK, which has a market of 66 million customers, but rather hope to have a branch in the Netherlands in order to access both markets. Some of the moving companies are actually American or Japanese (for example), who originally based branches in the UK to access the EU market.

Regardless, those 140 new arrivals created 4,200 new jobs in the Netherlands and brought investments worth hundreds of millions of euros. As the Dutch economy grapples with setbacks caused by the corona, they may benefit from this ongoing British exodus.

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Feature Image: Christoph Scholz/Wikimedia Commons/CC2.0

Emily Burger
Emily grew up in South Africa but has also lived in Egypt, the UK, Canada and now the Netherlands. She first came here for her Bachelors in Arts and Culture at Maastricht University and soon fell in love with the land of canals, clogs and cheese. When she's not daydreaming about sci-fi movies or countries yet to explore, you can find her writing for DutchReview.


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