3 February 2021

Post-Brexit opportunities in the Netherlands: why business are setting up Euro-hubs in the Netherlands

Category: International law

What has prompted the influx of business?

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) which entered into effect on the 1st of January 2021, brought with it unprecedented challenges for thousands of British businesses. Due to Britain’s withdrawal from the EU and the TCA’s new rules on trade and exports (previously discuss in my blog here), business are now having to deal with “VAT, tariffs, port delays, rising transportation costs, and disrupted exports to the EU” (Brexit: Dutch warehouse boom forced by British companies to invest abroad – the Netherlands, Emnetra, 27 January).

Whereas business from the EU and the UK were previously able to trade with zero tariffs and quotas, this is now only applicable for goods which are made in the EU or the UK, thus satisfying the single origin requirement set out in the TCA. The TCA, however, is silent on goods which originate from outside the respective territories. Many traders have called the regime a “bureaucratic nightmare”, with business owners having to pay extra import tariffs, VAT, and deal with a host of red tape for every single transaction, essentially making every product more expensive (Honderden Britse bedrijven overwegen door Brexit naar Nederland te komen, NOS, 2 February).

Why are businesses choosing the Netherlands?

Besides the obvious advantage of being able to avoid cross-border delays and extra costs on every consignment, the Netherlands is home to Europe’s largest port of entry into the EU, situated in Rotterdam. In addition, Schiphol airport is one of the largest airports in the EU from which trade and logistics operations are carried out. This means that logistics providers in the Netherlands are able to reach customers in all corners of the EU, from Portugal to Greece, within 24 hours (Shadow of Brexit fuels Dutch warehoue logistics boom, Freightwaves, 31 January).

Interestingly, the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) has reported that the number of British companies searching for a base in the country has doubled in the last 18 months, with the agency reporting a list of more than 500 firms requesting assistance with investing in the Netherlands (Brexit: Dutch warehouse boom as UK firms forced to invest abroad, The Guardian, 26 January). According to the FIA, however, half of these firms are UK based entities with several firms from the US and China looking to invest in the Netherlands directly as well. 

Blenheim’s International Team

Blenheim has a dedicated team of lawyers dealing with cross-border matters on a daily basis, who are here to assist UK and global businesses looking to set up operations in the Netherlands. Our team is particularly skilled in helping businesses navigate all stages of establishing themselves in the Netherlands, from the incorporation of Dutch entities, right through to the roll-out of business operations and connecting entities to logistics partners. For more information on how Blenheim can assist, please contact one of the members from Blenheim’s International Team specialising in cross-border commercial and corporate matters.