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Indian companies are going Dutch

Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), a Dutch government agency, helps companies establish their business in the Netherlands. Robert V Schipper, executive director of NFIA India tells ET that he hopes the NFIA will be a key player in boosting the business ties between India and the Netherlands.

, ET Bureau|
Nov 07, 2009, 12.48 AM IST
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Robert V Schipper, Executive Director, NFIA
Robert V Schipper, Executive Director, NFIA
Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), a Dutch government agency, helps companies establish their business in the Netherlands. Robert V Schipper, executive director of NFIA India tells ET that he hopes the NFIA will be a key player in boosting the business ties between India and the Netherlands. NFIA also facilitates Indian companies to reach out to the European market. Excerpts:

What are the opportunities for Indian companies in the Netherlands?

The Dutch tax environment for international companies is attractive. The corporate tax structure of the Netherlands creates an extremely business-friendly climate. We have a wide tax treaty network that avoids instances of double taxation and reduces withholding taxes on dividends. Cash dividends, dividends-in-kind, bonus shares and all other benefits coming from a qualifying shareholding are exempt from tax which is referred to as the Participation Exemption. Outgoing interest and royalty payments do not attract withholding tax.

The Dutch business environment is a combination of a business-friendly tax system and a regulatory framework. Over 7,000 multinational companies have chosen to set up the hub of their European operations in the country.

How does NFIA help Indian companies set up business operations in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe?

NFIA plays an important role in helping and consulting Indian companies who want to set up their business establishment. It provides access to customers, partners or knowledge and also conducts study for the companies with setting up their business operations in the Netherlands and make the country as their hub to do so. The Netherlands offers Indian and other foreign companies unique and multiple advantages ��� international business friendly atmosphere, favourable fiscal environment, multilingual workforce and world class infrastructure. NFIA helps the companies in making the implementation of their European plans in the smoothest possible manner.

Can you share instances of Indian companies that NFIA assisted?

There are more than 80 Indian companies in the Netherlands including small enterprises. Just like the US and Japan earlier, it is now the Indian companies which are venturing into the European market. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), was one of the early movers, having established its first presence in the Netherlands in 1992. In 2005, the office was upgraded as European headquarters, employing around 1,000 people in the Netherlands. Some of the other companies are Wipro, Dishman Pharma, 01 Synergy, Nucleus and Polaris.

What are the key sectors in India that NFIA targets?

NFIA primarily targets the Indian IT sector, they can set up base in the Netherlands and make most of the cost-efficient and business-friendly climate and then do business in the rest of Europe. The other active sectors are pharmaceuticals and automobiles. In pharmaceuticals, Indian and Dutch companies can collaborate due to research synergies. There are a lot of European companies that are generic drug producers.

How is Netherlands a ���bridge-head to Europe��� for companies looking for a foothold in the European markets?

The Netherlands has a major role to play for companies who want to establish themselves in Europe. There is no nation that has a longer tradition or more experience in selling goods and services, not only those produced in the Netherlands itself, but from all around the globe, to our fellow Europeans.

We are already, for many centuries, the trade and transport hub of Europe, facilitating as a bridge between Europe and the rest of the world. Our diverse and open society, large population of Indian origin on the continent, and the fact that nearly everyone in the Netherlands speaks English and very often a few more languages as well, should make our country a likely choice for the Indian companies expanding into Europe. Geographically, the country is within a 400-mile radius of half of Europe���s major markets and the country���s transport infrastructure has a big role to play.
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