With two weeks to go until the UK is set to leave the European Union, businesses face a tidal wave of uncertainty. This is nothing new. For the last two years, UK firms have had to prepare for the inevitability of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal. That prospect, whilst unlikely, must remain a possibility and many large, multinational firms have either made contingency plans for a no deal scenario or are accelerating them aggressively. A hard Brexit will result in the current number of firms seeking new entry points to the EU to spike dramatically over the coming months. Competition is fierce among potential destinations and the signs are that the Netherlands is more than punching its weight.
Rolling out the orange carpet
As one of the most economically competitive countries in the European Union, the Netherlands is a fertile ground for business. Whether in logistics, fintech or cybersecurity, companies are seeking an entry point into the European market. The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency stands ready to "roll out their orange carpet" and welcome companies from around the globe. In 2019 Amsterdam will become home to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) when it relocates from London to Amsterdam. The EMA is expected to provide job opportunities for 1,500 lawyers, patent specialists and consultants as pharmaceutical companies are expected to follow this move, meaning the greater Amsterdam area has become one of the most attractive and fastest-growing pharma and life-science centres in the world.
Moreover, the Dutch Government recently revealed that it was in talks with more than 250 companies about moving their operations from the UK to the Netherlands before Brexit. The economic affairs ministry said it had attracted 42 companies or branch offices and 1,923 jobs from the UK last year, as it increases its efforts to gain Brexit business.
Global broadcasters have started to look to Amsterdam. Among those who have chosen to invest there are the Discovery Channel, Sony and Bloomberg. The Dutch capital's strong international flight connections, flexible regulator and existing pool of skilled English-speaking workers are a draw.
Supporting the move
It is exciting to see the surge in demand from companies across the globe and in different industries exploring their options elsewhere in Europe, particularly in the Netherlands, Ireland, Luxembourg and Germany.
At Intertrust, we are seeing increased enquiries from companies wanting to set up new operations in case of a hard Brexit but not necessarily moving out of the UK altogether. We are geographically well covered and able to compare options and navigate easily through the local law and regulations. We have so far been able to assist numerous clients to make their move to the European Union and helped them to start their new local business in a swift and cost-efficient manner. As a result, our clients can focus on their core business, whether that is trading, asset management, technology or broadcasting, while we take care of all relevant support services, including office space, payroll, accounting and corporate secretarial services.
There is no doubt that Brexit has shaken the proverbial kaleidoscope of both business and politics. While London will of course remain a key global financial and commercial centre, Brexit has presented opportunities for other European countries and we have started to see this already. As the political situation continues to evolve, demand for those services, that provide holistic expertise, knowledge and understanding in negotiating these tough and volatile markets, will substantially increase.
Navigating the complexity
Planning and preparing for Brexit is essential and despite the uncertainties, exploring the different outcomes should be part of every companies' plan. We are working closely with our clients to navigate the complexities of Brexit and ensure they continue to operate seamlessly.
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