Editor’s note: The Netherlands Embassy in the U.S. recently released data showing that trade and investment relationship between the two countries accounts for 685,000 American jobs (24,000 of them in Georgia).
It also points out that the Netherlands is already the top market by stock of U.S. foreign investment, to the tune of $645 billion.
Despite these strong links, the trade-oriented country of 17 million people isn’t resting on its laurels. Through the local Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency office, it touts the advantages of investing in a business- and tax-friendly nation with access to the European Union market of more than 500 million consumers.
The Atlanta-based Netherlands American Chamber of Commerce Southeast featured Ard Crebas, a director of NFIA in Atlanta, in its May member spotlight, which is republished below with permission:
What is your business industry category or specialty?
The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency is a Dutch government agency that assists and facilitates U.S. companies that are looking to set-up or expand operations in Europe/the Netherlands. Allison covers Florida – Texas and the southern part of Georgia and I cover the northern part of Georgia to Pennsylvania.
How do you describe your job to people outside the industry?
We sell the Netherlands!
Who are your main competitors and what differentiates you from the competition? What makes you unique?
Currently the main competitors are the U.K. and Ireland. How we differ from the competition very much depends on the type of project and the total package we can offer. Generally speaking the Netherlands is known for its easy accessibility; its internationally oriented, highly educated and multilingual workforce; its excellent logistics network and availability of logistics service providers and its corporate tax climate. A lot of our clients choose between London and Amsterdam. In such cases Amsterdam generally is more affordable when it comes to real estate prices and salary costs.
How was the business started?
I believe the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency was started in the 1970s when there was a need to support foreign businesses wanting to expand into Europe. At the time it was common practice to provide a variety of direct incentives to attract companies to the Netherlands (and to other countries in Europe).
How many employees does the business have?
We have five employees in Atlanta, about 25 in the USA (offices in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Boston and an executive office at the Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C.). In addition to the offices in the U.S. we have about 12 offices worldwide and a total of about 100 employees.
How did you end up in Atlanta?
I was asked to join Allison (Turner) in this office in 2009 after having been temporarily responsible for the offices in New York and London. Allison, who’s originally from the area, set up this office about 12 years ago after returning from the Netherlands where she had lived for about 10 years.
What is your number one business goal over the next year?
Attract and facilitate as many companies looking to expand in Europe/the Netherlands as possible. Any leads from fellow NACCSE members are always welcome!
What is the best advice you have received regarding doing business with Americans/Dutch?
In general Americans don’t seem to be offended by the Dutch directness, especially after some initial small talk (and here in the South it helps if you are able to talk about the latest Football results). Don’t overdo it, though!
Any other personal information you would like to share, e.g. hobbies, special interests, family etc…
Both Allison and I live with our families in the Midtown area of Atlanta (respectively, in Inman Park and Candler Park). We love the village-like environment there although we both like to get out and see the area/country.
For the full list of locations in North America and their coordinates, click here.
Learn more about the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce of the Southeast at www.naccse.org.