Are there more Unilever companies abroad? Small chance

If we look at the hard numbers, it's not that bad, according to a message from Minister Eric Wiebs (Economic Affairs and Climate, VVD) this week. Sent to the House of Representatives. With the help of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), many companies have been lured and helped to move to the Netherlands in recent years.

Good for billions of investments

In the years 2016 to 2019, 1,476 companies came to the Netherlands and together they say they provide 47,987 jobs and investments totaling 10.56 billion euros.

This also includes “Brexit spoils”, which are companies that moved their headquarters to the Netherlands due to the UK’s exit from the European Union. In comparison, this is a small number: 140 companies, collectively providing 4,216 jobs and 375 million in promised investments.

“The Netherlands always ranks high on business climate lists,” says Arjan Ligor, a professor of tax and public finance at Tilburg University who works at the Central Planning Bureau (CPB). He warns that it is difficult to control whether a country's business climate is favourable. “Because what makes a country attractive?”

Easily accessible and trainable

And judging by the various rosters being circulated, Holland is in good shape. “We are always in the top 10 because we score well in terms of accessibility, level of education, how well the population speaks English, and stable government,” says Legore. “And if you look at what comes in and what goes out, immigration to the Netherlands is going well.”

Separate cases

Both companies collapsed due to their dual corporate structure. Since companies have two types of shares, two tax regimes also apply to the payment of dividends: in the Netherlands a rate of 15 percent applies, and in the United Kingdom no tax needs to be paid.

If you ignore the profits tax, there are “sufficient tax breaks” to attract companies, says Hans Schenck, SER Crown Member and professor emeritus of economics at Utrecht University. “We're in a reasonably good position on taxes,” agrees Ligure.

This is also clear from Webbs' numbers. “The Netherlands has proportionally more head offices than other countries,” he writes. Although these are often head offices on paper, they provide much of the work for Zuidas' senior lawyers and senior counsel, according to Schenk.

It is not clear whether having multiple head offices truly provides added value. On behalf of the House of Representatives, this matter was investigated by a committee headed by Chief Government Officer Bernard ter Haar.

They could not answer the question, because companies Permission was not given Committee to use their financial data. It is therefore impossible to verify the proceeds of the presence of head offices in tax revenues.

The move by “flagship” Shell, as employer leader Hans de Boer describes the company, will at most have consequences for the “image factor,” according to Ligure. “We see other companies, like Uber and, coming here as well,” he adds.

He also questions whether Shell wants to move at all, something CEO Ben van Beurden recently threatened at Het Financieele Dagblad. “This happens every few years when they think about it.”

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Schenk says Shell's departure would be “sad”, but mainly because the Netherlands can no longer influence the direction of policy.

He explains that if he leaves, the Netherlands will lose the opportunity to influence Shell's climate policy. This participation is also in the interest of Shell, which will have to adapt to climate change in order to survive in thirty or forty years.

Reducing business taxes

Wiebs also emphasizes that if the government wanted to do something to entice companies to come to the Netherlands, it would be better to lower taxes on labor. Taxes paid by employers for labor are one of the most significant bottlenecks in the current tax system, the Ministry of Finance recently concluded.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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