The Benefits of Going Dutch

Posted: Dec 7, 2017
Expert:
Paul Brown

The Netherlands is the ‘perfect springboard’ for UK companies looking to Europe and to mitigate the potential negative impact of Brexit, people attending a HURST business summit were told. Among the key attractions are the country’s location, world-class infrastructure, highly-skilled workforce and a favourable and open economy, the audience heard.

Erik Klop and Wilbet Snoei, of accountancy firm Visser & Visser, outlined the benefits at an event organised jointly with Barclays, which offers a range of financial services to companies setting up operations overseas. Like HURST, Visser & Visser is a member of the PrimeGlobal association of independent accounting firms. It has 250 staff across 11 branches in the Netherlands.

The event, held at Barclays’ offices in Spinningfields, Manchester, attracted representatives from businesses involved in activities including manufacturing, lighting, importing, distribution, retail and creative. Wilbet, a manager in the international business team at Visser & Visser, said a growing number of foreign companies are setting up operations in the Netherlands.

It is becoming increasingly recognised as an excellent gateway to mainland Europe as well as a business entity in its own right, he said. The country has an open economy supported by Europe’s largest port at Rotterdam and the award-winning Schipol Airport in Amsterdam.
Shell, Cisco and Huawei are among those with their headquarters in the Netherlands, where 90 per cent of the workforce speak English fluently.

The country also has one of the world’s fastest average broadband speeds and plenty of capacity for storage and distribution at favourable rates. Erik, a tax partner at Visser & Visser, said the Netherlands offers competitive tax rates and incentives, a solid and reliable payments system and strong, sound financial institutions.

The Netherlands’ flexible system of corporate law means it is quick and easy to establish a business there, he added. Paul Brown, HURST’s head of international tax and compliance, said UK company owners should initially weigh up whether to have a permanent presence in the Netherlands or to operate through sales agents.

“If you take a big chunk of your business and transfer it to the Netherlands, the taxman here will see it as being outside the UK tax net and will treat it as if you have sold the business, so there will be tax to pay,” he said.

Experts from the Department for International Trade in Manchester gave advice on how companies can receive help when expanding overseas, including funding for trade shows and market research. The Doing Business in the Netherlands summit was the latest in a series looking at how companies can mitigate the effects of Brexit.

Are you an International Business considering your options post-Brexit? Call us on 0161 477 2474 or email Inspired@Hurst.co.uk if you'd like any advice on this.