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NBCC Event Review: “Partners for Growth”

25-09-2014

2014-09-25

“Partners for Growth: Getting the most from the Netherlands / UK Economic Relationship”

Review of NBCC event (in conjunction with the British Embassy, VNO-West and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs), 12 September 2014

NBCC Event Review: “Partners for Growth”

25-09-2014

Review of NBCC event (in conjunction with the British Embassy, VNO-West and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs), 12 September 2014

 

On 12 September 2014, the NBCC, together with the British Embassy in the Hague, employers federation VNO-NCW, and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs organised a discussion forum on the theme “Partners for Growth: Getting the most from the Netherlands / UK Economic Relationship” followed by a premier members lunch at the residence of the British ambassador Sir Geoffrey Adams.

Discussion Forum

The event took the shape of a discussion forum to allow attendees to be part of the on-going dialogue around ways the UK and the Netherlands can work together to foster the right conditions for competitiveness and growth in Europe. 

After the opening address by Sir Geoffrey Adams, Elwin de Groot, Senior Market Economist at Rabobank introduced the subject and moderated the discussion. Anton Valk, Chairman of the NBCC presented an overview of the current trade and investment relations between the Netherlands and the UK. Observations were made about the fact that while the trade and investment relations between the two countries are intense, the growth of both investment and trade in recent years has been lagging behind and the presenters shared the conclusion that more could have been achieved.

Specific recommendations for future policy making were given, on issues such as the finalization of the internal EU market and the reduction of red tape, granting of credit, re-evaluating the sector approach and the stimulation and support to start-ups in the transition from local to global companies.

Comments were also made on how the UK is tackling the skills shortage in the country by introducing 800,000 apprenticeships. The skills shortage is also one of the problems facing the Dutch economy.

Interesting suggestions were launched as to whether the UK and the Netherlands should consider organizing joint-trade missions to third markets.

Mr Jan Bart Henry, head of EU affairs at PostNL, a Dutch company but increasingly a major player in the UK market, added some specific examples of PostNL’s challenges faced with regard to European legislation and British regulatory affairs.

In an interactive discussion following the presentations, entrepreneurs in the room were given the opportunity to highlight some of the constraints they encountered when doing business in the UK.

This resulted in some interesting questions from the floor to *Maarten Camps and Martin Donnelly, as well as to others in attendance, on issues such as the cost of doing business in the UK and the challenges faced by entrepreneurs looking to find suitable partners in the overseas market.

Premier members lunch meeting

Lunch hosted by Sir Geoffrey Adams and Anton Valk, gave another opportunity for discussion and Mr Donnelly and Mr Camps covered a wide range of issues together with assembled senior representatives from the Anglo-Dutch business community.

Short summary

Lunch discussions include the importance of energy efficiency in view of the security of energy supply discussion; Dutch and British innovation collaboration in the food sector; and the potentially game-changing role Big Data will play in Europe. A range of company specific issues was also discussed. The lunch highlighted again the importance of the shared values between the UK and the Netherlands in addressing issues affecting economic growth and competitiveness, both bilaterally and in a European context. Finally Martin Donnelly explained the merits of bringing Business, Innovation and skills together in one government department under Vince Cable.

Conclusion and follow up

Anton Valk, chairman of the NBCC, expressed his thanks to Sir Geoffrey for his hospitality and the cooperation in organizing this event for the Anglo Dutch business community. In response to the level of interest, the NBCC, in cooperation with both embassies and governments, can confirm it will arrange further events in both the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, to support to its members and clients in expanding their business in overseas markets.

The NBCC presentation held at the event can be downloaded here.

The Rabobank presentation can be downloaded here.

The event was hosted by Maarten Camps, Secretary General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (NL) and Martin Donnelly, Permanent Secretary, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (UK)

About 60 people, largely from SME’s, were in attendance, among which were many NBCC members.

The forum was held at the Ministry of Economic Affairs in The Hague.

 

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