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U.S. Department State 
The Netherlands Country Commercial Guide 
Office of the Coordinator for Business Affairs 
 
 
 
                       The Netherlands 
                       Fiscal Year 1996 
 
                       TABLE OF CONTENTS 
 
 
CHAPTER       I.   EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 
 
CHAPTER      II.  ECONOMIC TRENDS AND OUTLOOK 
 
CHAPTER     III.  POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT 
 
CHAPTER      IV.  MARKETING U.S. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES 
 
CHAPTER       V.  LEADING SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTS AND INVESTMENT 
 
CHAPTER      VI.  TRADE REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS 
 
CHAPTER     VII.  INVESTMENT CLIMATE 
 
CHAPTER    VIII.  TRADE AND PROJECT FINANCING 
 
CHAPTER      IX.  BUSINESS TRAVEL 
 
CHAPTER       X.  APPENDICES 
 
This Country Commercial Guide (CCG) presents a comprehensive look at the 
Netherlands' commercial environment through economic, political and 
market analyses. 
 
The CCGs were established by recommendation of the Trade Promotion 
Coordinating Committee (TPCC), a multi-agency task force, to consolidate 
various reporting documents prepared for the U.S. business community.  
Country Commercial Guides are prepared annually at U.S. Embassies 
through the combined efforts of several U.S. government agencies. 
 
CHAPTER I.  EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 
 
The Netherlands is about the size of the State of Maryland, and in terms 
of geographic ranking, it is the 121st largest country in the world and 
50th in terms of population.  But its "smallness" fades dramatically 
when the economic numbers are examined. 
 
The Netherlands is one of the top dozen trading countries in the world, 
it is ranked 13th in GNP, ninth in imports of goods and services from 
the United States, and third in foreign investment in the U.S., behind 
the United Kingdom and Japan.  The U.S. is the largest foreign investor 
in the Netherlands and has its largest bilateral trade surplus in the 
world with this country (More than $8 bn in 1994).  Dutch leisure and 
business travelers contribute almost $1 billion annually to the U.S. 
economy, which makes the Netherlands our 13th largest source of travel 
and tourism revenue. 
 
What is the bottom line for American exporters?  The range of export 
potential for products and services in the Netherlands is amazingly 
broad-based.  From high-tech to low-tech, all manner of goods coming 
into Europe can take advantage of Dutch distribution, warehousing, and 
value-added manufacturing.  American industrial goods, as well as 
consumer goods, are popular and have a reputation for quality.  The 
depreciation of the dollar makes them even more attractive.  The 
decision of whether or not to become involved in the Dutch market can 
often be made by heeding the prevailing wisdom that an American 
manufacturer or supplier of a well-designed product with strong sales in 
the U.S. can expect to do well in the Netherlands. 
 
The country's advanced transport and logistical infrastructure is second 
to none in Europe.  Dutch firms own one third of cross border European 
Union freight carrying vehicles and over 60 percent of European river 
barges.  One fifth of Europe's Regional Distribution Centers are in the 
Netherlands.  Rotterdam is the largest seaport in the world and handles 
almost half of U.S. surface exports to Western Europe; Amsterdam 
Schiphol airport is the fourth busiest cargo airport in Europe. 
 
The commercial and economic environment in the Netherlands presents 
special opportunities and challenges for American companies.  Our 
bilateral trade and investment relations with the Dutch are long, solid 
and more important today than ever before. 
 
Economic growth picked up in the Netherlands during 1994.  Real Gross 
Domestic Product (GDP) grew 2.5 percent, and official forecasts predict 
growth of 3.25 percent in 1995.  Growth is expected to slow to 2.5 in 
1996.  Dutch exports are expected to benefit from growth in world trade 
despite the strong guilder.  Labor costs remain under control.  
Inflation is currently around 2 percent, but inflationary pressures are 
set to increase over the medium-term.  Despite economic growth, 
unemployment is expected to remain stable at around 9 percent. 
 
An estimated 7,000 U.S. companies have appointed Dutch agents and 
distributors in the Netherlands.  Of the top 500 U.S. companies, 105 
have formed European Distribution Centers in the Netherlands.  
Approximately 1,100 American and American-affiliated companies have 
operations in the Netherlands.  Many American companies locate their 
agents in the Netherlands through participation in a broad range of 
well-established trade events attracting countrywide and international 
attendees, and through using the individualized services of the 
Commercial Service designed to support the matchmaking process. 
 
The Dutch market thus continues to be an outstanding business arena for 
American firms, both as an end market and as a means of entry into the 
rest of Europe.  The Netherlands' strategic location is unique.  Over 
160 million consumers (half the population of the European Union) live 
within a 300 mile radius of Rotterdam.  Use of English is widespread and 
seventy-three percent of the Dutch population master one or more foreign 
languages.  Historic ties to the U.S. provide a highly receptive market 
for American goods and services coming to and through the country. 
 
The country's strategic location combined with the relative ease of 
doing business makes the Netherlands an ideal European operations 
location for American companies.  The Netherlands boasts a world-class 
and user-friendly transportation and distribution infrastructure, as 
well as a full menu of business services.  Companies may want to start 
by taking advantage of the state-of-the-art Dutch distribution system 
which includes "value added logistics" (VAL) services, including 
adapting products to suit the European market. 
 
An American company that has a quality product with strong sales 
performance in the United States, competitive prices, and a firm 
commitment to exporting, will do well in the Netherlands.  Companies 
which have developed or are likely to develop market inroads into the 
rest of Europe should take a close look at the Netherlands as a possible 
European distribution and/or marketing and sales center.  If you are 
interested in doing business in the Netherlands, the American Embassy 
should be your first point of contact.  If we do not know the answer to 
your questions, we know who does.  Please direct your inquiries to the 
Commercial Service, Phone: (31) 70 310 9417; Fax: (31) 70 363 2985. 
 
American firms expanding into Europe have traditionally chosen the 
United Kingdom as a springboard.  It is perhaps time to move on, and 
expand into continental Europe by choosing the Netherlands - 
geographically, structurally and culturally the most logical choice. 
 
Country Commercial Guides are available on the National Trade Data Bank 
on CD-ROM or through the Internet.  Please contact Stat-USA at 1-800-
Stat-USA for more information.  To locate Country Commercial Guides via 
the Internet, Please use the following world Wide Web address:  WWW. 
Stat-USA.Gov.  CCG's can also be ordered in hard copy or on diskette 
from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) at 1-800-553-
NTIS. 
 
CHAPTER II.  ECONOMIC TRENDS AND OUTLOOK 
 
      Major Trends and Outlook 
 
Economic growth in the Netherlands is picking up.  Real Gross Domestic 
Product (GDP) grew 2.5 percent in 1994, and is officially forecast to 
grow 3.25 percent in 1995 and slow to 2.5 percent in 1996.  Growing 
world trade will continue to boost Dutch exports despite the strong 
guilder.  Labor costs remain under control.  Inflation is low at around 
2 percent, but inflationary pressures loom over the next year or two.  
Despite economic growth, unemployment is expected to remain stable at 
around 9 percent.  The public sector deficit continues to be whittled 
away, but public debt remains well above the target set out in the 
Maastricht Treaty for economic and monetary union.  Public opinion seems 
to support a smaller state sector and social security system, but reform 
remains politically touchy. 
 
GDP Growth 
 
Economic growth figures and forecasts have been revised upwards several 
times.  The Central Planning Bureau (CPB) now says 1994 GDP grew 2.5 
percent year-on-year, and forecasts 3.25 percent growth in 1995, slowing 
to 2.5 percent in 1996.  This is in line with the OECD's growth forecast 
for the Netherlands of 3.1 percent in 1995 and 2.7 percent in 1996.  
ABN-Amro Bank - Holland's largest - predicts 2.8 percent in 1995, 
peaking at 3 percent in 1996.  According to the CPB, investment will 
replace exports as the main driving force. 
 
Inflation 
 
Inflation is low and falling.  The annual rate is expected to dip below 
two percent in mid-1995, reflecting the strong guilder/dollar rate's 
impact on import prices.  The average rate for 1995 is forecast at 1.75 
percent, rising slightly to 2.25 percent in 1996.  The OECD sees 
inflation in the Netherlands drop to 1.8 percent in 1995 and 1996. 
 
However, there are inflationary pressures.  Economic growth will stay 
positive through 1995-96.  Capacity utilization was up to 84.5 percent 
in March 1995.  In the semi-manufactured goods sector, it rose to 85.5 
percent.  And, despite high unemployment, wage moderation, and 
government cuts in employers' social security and tax burden, wage costs 
will start contributing to inflation in 1996 as productivity growth 
slows.  The dollar is expected to strengthen against the guilder in 1995 
and 1996, eliminating some of the deflationary exchange rate effect.  
The official forecast dollar/guilder exchange rate is Nfl 1.65/$1 in 
1995 and NFL1.70/$1 in 1996.  Large commercial banks forecast rates of 
Nfl 1.69/$1 end-95, and 1.75/$1 end-96). 
 
Labor Costs 
 
Collective bargaining will raise wages by an average of 1.25 percent in 
1995.  The average increase for 1996 is projected to be 2.25 percent.  
However, the effect on wage costs will be limited by government moves to 
reduce the tax and social security premium burden on employers. 
 
      Principal Growth Sectors 
 
In addition to the "Best Prospect Sectors" listed in CHAPTER V, there 
are opportunities for American companies which provide products and 
services which meet the needs of planned Dutch infrastructure 
development projects, including:  the Rotterdam Port and City 
Development Plan (the "Havenplan 2010"), the Schiphol (Amsterdam) 
Airport Development Plan (the "Masterplan 2003"), the construction of a 
new all-freight rail line between Rotterdam and Germany (The 
"Betuwelijn"), and the construction of a high speed passenger rail line 
to Germany and France using the French TGV.  Selected niches in the 
defense market will also continue to be of interest to American 
suppliers. 
 
      Government Role in the Economy 
 
Unresolved Problems 
 
Deficits and Debt:  The deficit has steadily fallen as a percentage of 
GDP since the 1980s.  Under the conventional definition, the budget 
deficit fell below two percent of GDP in 1994. 
 
But the government has been criticized for using incidental income, eg, 
accelerated tax collection and privatization income, to shrink the 
deficit number and mask the structural trend.  So the government has 
introduced a new definition, the "policy relevant deficit".  Using this 
definition, the deficit rose from 3.3 percent in 1993 to 3.5 percent of 
GDP in 1994.  The outlook for 1995 and 1996 is 3.25 and 2.5 percent of 
GDP, respectively.  The Maastricht deficit criterion is no more than 3 
percent of GDP. 
 
The Maastricht EMU criteria require a debt-to-GDP ratio of no more than 
60 percent, or steady progress toward that level.  The Netherlands has a 
way to go.  The ratio fell from 81.4 percent in 1993 to 79.4 percent in 
1994.  ABN-Amro Bank forecasts it to be slightly higher, at 79.9 Percent 
in 1995, and higher still in 1996.  However, Finance Minister Zalm puts 
the 1995 figure at 78.5 Percent, and says it will decline further in 
1996.  The government is counting on GDP growth in the out-years to cut 
the ratio, both by increasing tax revenues and the denominator. 
 
Unemployment and Inactivity:  Unemployment has stopped rising, but is 
not expected to fall despite economic growth.  Unemployment is currently 
9 percent, lower than the European Union average, but still high.  
Employment is forecast to grow in 1995 and 1996, by 79,000 and 92,000 
jobs, respectively.  However, the supply of labor will also rise 
sharply, absorbing the increase in the number of jobs. 
 
The "inactivity ratio", that is, the ratio of all benefit recipients to 
economically active persons, has fallen slightly, mainly due to stricter 
criteria for disability benefits.  In 1994, the ratio was 83.8 (ie, 83.8 
inactives supported by every 100 working people) and is expected to fall 
to 83.25 percent in 1995 and slightly over 82 percent in 1996.  However, 
there is political pressure to relax stricter disability criteria. 
 
Consensus, Competition, and the Welfare State:  Prominent observers 
believe that the "only way" forward for the Netherlands is to continue 
to de-regulate, liberalize, privatize, and that the traditional 
consensus, corporatist economy is - and should continue - eroding.  
Political and public opinion is swinging behind the idea of a less 
generous welfare system, lower-taxes, and more competition.  Opinion 
polls and the 1995 provincial elections show growing public support for 
a smaller state sector and a "minimal" (in Dutch terms) social security 
system. 
 
The Netherlands leads its EU partners in liberalization in a number of 
areas, eg, posts and telecommunications and public transportation, but 
there is more to do.  The next stage will be to liberalize and privatize 
the electricity utilities.  There is domestic and foreign interest in 
sectors where there has been little competition before. 
 
Policies in the coalition accord - the written agreement on which the 
three-party government is founded - point generally in the right 
direction: lower taxes, more competition, fewer subsidies, a smaller 
welfare state.  However, implementation will not always be easy.  A more 
competitive economy means eroding Holland's famed "consensus society", 
the corporatist model shaped over decades.  A milestone was reached when 
Parliament recently decided that the government need no longer consult 
the Social Economic Council (SER) - the cornerstone of the consensus 
society made up of representatives of business, labor, and academia - on 
proposed legislation. 
 
      Balance of Payments Situation 
 
Exports were up 7.3 percent in 1994, against 6.1 percent growth of 
imports.  Dutch exports are biassed toward semi-finished goods, which 
was a plus in 1994 at an early stage of the world recovery.  However, in 
1995 and 1996, world demand for capital goods will increase, slowing the 
growth of Dutch exports.  A merchandise trade surplus contributed to a 
1994 current account surplus of near 23 billion guilders ($13 billion).  
There are no significant trade barriers, and the US has a trade surplus 
of more than $8 billion with the Netherlands, our 9th largest trading 
partner. 
 
      Infrastructure Situation 
 
Spending on Infrastructure 
 
The Government plans to boost growth, employment, and competitiveness 
through public infrastructure spending of more than 8 billion guilders 
($4 billion) a year between 1994 and the end of 1998 - a total of 40 
billion guilders -  paid for largely by one-off proceeds of sales of 
state holdings (eg, the Dutch PTT) and one-time windfall revenues from 
the natural gas sales.  Total infrastructure outlays over the next five 
years may be higher if, as planned, the Government can attract private 
investment and contributions from the EU Structural Fund.  Because 
European Union rules have opened public procurement to foreign firms, 
there may be attractive opportunities for U.S. firms to participate in 
the renewal of Dutch physical infrastructure. 
 
CHAPTER III.  POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT 
 
      Nature of Political Relationship with the United States 
 
The Netherlands has an historically close bilateral relationship with 
the United States, encompassing a full agenda of political, economic, 
military and social issues.  The Netherlands and the United States work 
closely together in NATO, the United Nations, the GATT, the Organization 
on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the OECD, and other international 
fora. 
 
      Major Political Issues Affecting Business Climate 
 
A three-party coalition consisting of the left-leaning Labor Party 
(PvdA), the right-leaning Liberal Party (VVD) and center-left Democrats 
(D66), has been in power since August 1994.  The government is 
implementing its coalition agreement to trim budget deficits and to 
streamline the generous social welfare system.  Among priorities for 
addressing business needs are reducing company tax contributions for 
social programs, and easing employment rigidities.  In foreign affairs 
and defense policy, there is a strong consensus in the Netherlands in 
favor of continued close ties with the United States, support for NATO, 
and further European integration through the EU. 
 
      Brief Synopsis of Political System, Schedule for Elections, and 
Orientation of Major Political Parties 
 
The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary form 
of government.  The Monarch (Queen Beatrix) is the titular Head of 
State, however, the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet plus 
representatives of the Netherlands Antilles) is responsible for 
government policy.  The Ministers, collectively and individually, are 
responsible to the Parliament, but do not serve in Parliament. 
 
The Dutch Parliament (also known as the "States General") consists of 
two houses:  the First and Second Chambers.  The Second Chamber is the 
more influential of the two chambers.  It consists of 150 members 
elected on party slates for four-year terms under a system of 
proportional representation.  As a result, members represent the whole 
country rather than individual districts as in the United States.  The 
difficulty of winning an absolute majority under this system has given 
rise to a tradition of coalition government. 
 
The First Chamber, composed of 75 members, is elected by provincial 
legislatures for four-year terms.  While it can neither initiate nor 
amend legislation, it must approve all legislation passed by the Second 
Chamber before it becomes law. 
 
Following elections in May 1994, twelve political parties are 
represented in the Second Chamber.  The Labor Party (Pvda) is the 
largest party with 37 seats, followed by the Christian Democrats (CDA) 
with 34, the Liberals (VVD) with 31, and D66 with 24.  The Labor Party's 
traditional base has been among the labor unions and working-class, 
while the Christian Democrats draw upon a long tradition of 
confessional-oriented politics in the Netherlands.  The Liberal Party is 
a strong advocate of free enterprise and minimal government 
intervention.  D66 combines views from both the left and liberal 
streams.  Extreme parties of the right and left exist, but have little 
support or influence. 
 
The next national elections are due to be held in 1998. 
 
CHAPTER IV.  MARKETING U.S. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES 
 
      Distribution and Sales Channels 
 
The introduction of products into the Dutch market is uncomplicated and 
may be achieved by several methods.  Product representation throughout 
the Netherlands is facilitated by the compact market and may be achieved 
with any of the following distribution methods to cover the entire area, 
depending on the expected sales volume, product support requirements, 
and marketing techniques.  However, these methods must be applied being 
mindful of the advantages a local representative would have in serving 
the home market: 
 
*     Establishing a sales office to serve the entire country and 
provide a distribution base for Western Europe. 
 
*     Selling through an agent or distributor whose activity may cover 
specified areas, the entire Benelux, or include European sales. 
 
*     Selling through established wholesalers or dealers. 
 
*     Selling directly to department stores, chains, retailer 
cooperatives, consumer cooperatives, or other purchasing organizations. 
 
      Use of Agents and Distributors; Finding a Partner 
 
The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the 
world, with an average of 958 inhabitants per square mile in 1994.  This 
population density compares to 848 inhabitants per square mile for 
Belgium, 830 for Japan, 613 for the United Kingdom, 583 for Germany, and 
70 for the United States.  The most densely populated region in the 
Netherlands is called the Randstad.  This region comprises the key 
marketing areas of Utrecht, Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam.  The 
Randstad is compact, homogeneous, and easily accessible. 
 
Areas outside of the Randstad, including the provinces of Gelderland, 
Noord Brabant, and the northern provinces have more land available for 
larger commercial operations.  Other benefits include less congestion, 
and the availability of financial assistance at some locations. 
 
Distances in the Netherlands are short: from Groningen, the most 
northerly major city, to Maastricht, at the southern tip, is 200 miles 
by road.  The distance from Rotterdam to Enschede, located near the 
German border, is about 120 miles.  Transportation is excellent by road, 
rail, and the numerous canals and rivers.  Shipments to any point in the 
country can reach their destination with ease. 
 
The Netherlands has a variety of experienced importers, sales agents, 
and distributors well versed in international trade.  A large portion of 
the goods is handled by importers who purchase for their own account and 
distribute throughout the country and Europe.  Because of the size, 
accessibility, and competitive nature of the Dutch market, importers 
often insist on an exclusive distributorship.  If the importer is a well 
qualified and experienced firm, an exclusive distributorship often 
yields the best results.  Wholesalers constitute an important segment of 
the importers doing business in this manner.  They are the primary 
source of supplies for the small- and medium-sized retail outlets, which 
often find it impossible to buy directly from manufacturers that require 
large orders. 
 
Purchasing associations are formed by independent retailers.  These 
associations combine purchasing power and operate their own warehouses, 
thus performing a function similar to the wholesaler. 
 
There are many commission agents and brokers in the Netherlands serving 
the domestic and European markets.  A Dutch representative can often 
provide an excellent starting point in exporting to Europe.  Dutch firms 
can easily handle the logistics, linguistics, adaptations, and stocks on 
behalf of the American firm. 
 
If the product normally has a high sales volume and low profit margin, 
the Dutch prefer to deal direct with the manufacturer.  Sales to a 
department store, chain store, or end-user often gives best sales 
results, but in-turn requires greater promotional effort by the American 
exporter to achieve.  The direct sales method eliminates the added 
shipping and warehousing expenses, but the U.S. exporter and Dutch 
importer must handle the shipping formalities and work harder to ensure 
a successful business relationship. 
 
Since the Netherlands represents a compact market, foreign firms 
customarily have one exclusive representative for the entire country, 
but it is common for the representative to appoint subagents to cover 
certain sectors of the market if sales volume and profit margin warrant. 
 
      Franchising 
 
There are few regulations concerning franchising and none that limit 
market access to U.S. firms.  Indeed, a number of American franchise 
companies have taken off in the Netherlands, particularly in the fast 
food area.  The European Union issued regulation EEC 4087/88 regarding 
franchising, which provides a unified code for the 15 member states.  
Its main thrust concerns price fixing, transfer pricing, noncompetition 
clauses, and exclusive dealing.  It also exempts certain franchise 
agreements from EU antitrust regulations. 
 
      Direct Marketing 
 
There are numerous well established sales outlets in the Netherlands.  
These firms, both at the wholesale and retail level, have traditionally 
been small units with high overhead.  The trend now is for a smaller 
number of units dealing with a greater volume and more competitive 
prices.  Trends in the Netherlands generally mirror those in the United 
States and other European countries.  Nevertheless, the Dutch 
distribution system is moving toward larger, more economically viable 
units to meet changing market needs.  The increased tempo of commercial 
and industrial activity, as well as suburban development, is bringing 
about changes in the distribution system.  Wholesalers supply a variety 
of services to associated small retailers, including sales promotion, 
advertising, and retail training.  In some cases, they combine as a 
group to purchase from manufacturers and then distribute the goods to 
their customers. 
 
Retail outlets range from the large department stores to the small shop 
owned and operated by an individual.  Although some retail outlets are 
small, such enterprises are decreasing in number as efficiencies of 
scale and purchasing power become the major competitive factors bearing 
on profit margins.  A trend toward larger outlets has been under way, 
with the formation of chains, expansion of department stores, 
establishment of medium-sized department stores, and the development of 
chain stores under single management. 
 
Mail-order sales account for a very small part of total Dutch retail 
sales.  Certain firms have used this technique successfully in 
combination with their usual retail outlet operation.  Promotion is 
carried out by catalog or by newspaper advertisements with no personal 
contact.  Hobby centers, do-it-yourself, auto supply centers, and 
discount stores also are enjoying great success. 
 
Existing channels of distribution for direct marketing in the 
Netherlands are set to be shaken up by the increased use of infomercials 
on Dutch television. 
 
Infomercials, available since the end of 1991 on Pan-European channels 
including RTL, CNN and Eurosport, tend to be crudely dubbed versions of 
existing American infomercials.  The Dutch soundtrack often features a 
native Dutch speaker speaking Dutch with a pronounced American accent.  
Most infomercials seen in the Netherlands are broadcast after midnight 
when airtime is cheap, although some shorter, direct-order 
advertisements are shown during prime time. 
 
Prospects for the growth in this method of selling are bound to grow.  
While Dutch state controlled television networks are currently prevented 
by law from setting aside the amount of time required for an 
infomercial, media laws will inevitably be adjusted to allow 
infomercials on state television.  Suppliers of home entertainment 
products, fitness items, cosmetics, jewelry, and housewares can best 
benefit from this emerging retail sector. 
 
      Joint Ventures/Licensing 
 
Joint-venture and licensing agreements are commonly used in the 
Netherlands.  The privatization of state-owned companies in the 
Netherlands, including the PTT and public transport systems has further 
stimulated the potential for U.S. firms to enter into joint venture 
partnerships with Dutch companies. 
 
      Steps to Establish an Office 
 
The Netherlands offers extensive public and private sector support for 
companies looking to invest in the Netherlands and/or establish offices 
in the Netherlands.  Commercial Service staff at the Embassy can provide 
appropriate contacts for interested companies. 
 
The following are the most common forms of incorporation: 
 
* Private Company (Besloten Vennootschap met beperkte aansprakelijkheid 
or BV): 
The private company or BV is the most common form of business 
organization in the Netherlands.  This form of organization is similar 
to the NV, but has a more closed character as shown by differences in 
the legal provisions concerning shares and lack of regulations requiring 
disclosure of annual accounts. 
 
The shares of a BV must be registered, but cannot be sold on the stock 
market or offered for public subscription.  Usually, the BV bylaws are 
written to restrict the transfer of shares.  For example, a shareholder 
may transfer shares only to a very limited category of relatives without 
the prior approval of the company oversight board established for that 
purpose without first offering the shares to other existing 
shareholders.  The most important advantage of a BV is the lack of 
requirement to publish financial reports as a NV must do.  However, 
firms in the insurance or banking sectors that have issued bearer bonds 
or certificates and that have its shares or bonds listed on the stock 
exchange must file financial reports. 
General Partnership (Vennootschap Onder Firma) - In a general 
partnership, the individuals operate a business under a common name.  
The partners are the owners and managers of the firm and have unlimited 
liability.  They are jointly and severally liable for any obligations of 
the firm.  There are no requirements regarding capital or nationality of 
the partners who may be individuals or commercial entities.  Transfer of 
an interest in the partnership must be approved by the other partners.  
Upon retirement or leaving the partnership, the partner remains 
responsible for any liabilities incurred by the firm before retirement 
or departure.  A written partnership agreement is required by law with 
the rights and duties of the partners clearly stated. 
 
* Limited Partnership (Commanditaire Vennootschap): 
A limited partnership is similar to a general partnership except it has 
two kinds of partners:  one or more general partners who are 
unconditionally liable for all the firm's activities and one or more 
limited partners who are not active in management of the firms and whose 
liability is limited to their capital contribution.  A limited partner's 
name may not appear in the firm's name unless previously a general 
partner.  A limited partner who does not conform to these conditions 
will be considered a general partner with full liability. 
 
* Limited Partnership with Shares (Commanditaire Vennootschap OP 
Aandelen) - is similar to the limited partnership except that the 
interests of the limited partners are represented by transferable 
shares. 
 
* Cooperative (Cooperatie): 
The cooperative is a special type of entity formed to represent the 
collective interests of its membership, such as buying or selling, 
rather than primarily an establishment to make profits for investors.  
This type of association permits the free entry and exit of its members 
from the cooperative society.  The organization's name must include the 
word cooperative (cooperatief) and must give a general indication of its 
purpose such as a consumer, dairy, or insurance cooperative.  The 
cooperative name must also include the degree of liability its members 
are exposed to:  WA, unlimited; BA, limited; or UA, no liability. 
 
* Cooperation (Naamloze Vennootschap or NV) 
The advantages of being a corporation (NV) in the Netherlands include 
the limited liability for shareholders, entering into contracts, ability 
to sue (and be sued), and transferability of shares. 
 
There are several steps to form a NV: (1) execution of the articles of 
incorporation before a notary by at least two of the company's founders, 
(2) the submission of notarized articles to the Netherlands' Ministry of 
Justice for review for legal compliance, (3) publication of the articles 
and the ministry declaration in the Official Gazette (Nederlandse 
Staatscourant), and (4) registration of the NV with the local chamber of 
commerce. 
 
The articles of incorporation must be in Dutch and be executed before, 
and registered by, a notary.  The name and location of the principal 
administrative office and purpose of the company must be provided.  The 
amount of capital, number of shares owned by each of the founders must 
also be indicated.  The first board of directors, if there is to be one, 
is included in the articles with later appointments to the board made at 
the general stockholders' meeting. 
 
Included in the articles of incorporation must be information on any 
special agreements that will obligate the company being set up in the 
future.  Such expressed or tacit agreements may relate to acquisition of 
shares on a preferential basis or assuring the founder of a profit or 
payment.  After the company has been established, management can enter 
into such agreements only if it has explicit authority in the articles 
of incorporation. 
 
The name of the corporation must begin or end with Naamloze Vennootschap 
or its abbreviation NV, which is the more common practice.  The firm's 
name should either be in Dutch, or if in another language, include some 
additional name such as Nederland, Holland, or the place of 
establishment of the company.  Any business name previously in legal use 
by another company, or one that may cause confusion between two firms, 
may not be used. 
 
The principal administrative office of a Dutch company or foreign 
subsidiary must be in the Netherlands if it is to have Dutch 
nationality.  Transfer abroad of the principal administrative office 
deprives the company of Dutch nationality.  Where the activities of the 
company are actually conducted is of no relevance in establishing 
nationality if the company's principal administrative office is in the 
Netherlands. 
 
The NV, whether domestically or foreign owned, may raise capital by 
public or private issue of shares in the Netherlands.  The typical NV 
has three separate and distinct authorities: the stockholders, board of 
directors, and managing board.  Responsibilities among these three 
bodies are governed by the commercial code and the articles of 
incorporation.  The stockholders, as owners of the firm, exercise 
authority at the general shareholders meeting.  Each shareholder has 
voting rights proportional to the stocks held.  The board of directors 
is charged by the general meeting of shareholders with supervision of 
the management of the firm.  The managing board is entrusted with 
managing the affairs of the firm, administering to the business 
activity, care of the property and other assets, and representing the 
interests of the shareholders and the firm. 
 
      Selling Factors/Techniques 
 
The European Union has adopted legislation establishing the obligations 
and conditions of European agents and their foreign suppliers.  The 
purpose of this legislation is to harmonize the laws and provisions of 
the member states governing the relations between commercial agents and 
their principals. 
 
The directive establishes terms and conditions regarding the respective 
rights and obligations of the principal and the commercial agent, 
remuneration of the agent, and the conclusion and termination of the 
agency contract.  To date, implementation of the directive has been 
slow, but U.S. firms entering into agency contracts in the European 
Union should be aware of the principles of the directive. 
 
On a micro level, the following generalizations can be made about the 
Dutch consumer: 
 
*  The Dutch are price sensitive but demand quality. 
 
*  They are not impulse buyers. 
 
*  Clever packaging plays a minor role in influencing shoppers. 
 
*  Advertising tends to be informative and not creative. 
 
*  The Dutch speak their minds and will not waste your time or 
   theirs if they are not interested in your product. 
 
      Advertising and Trade Promotion 
 
A full range of advertising media is available in the Netherlands.  
Numerous radio and television stations serve the country.  The cable 
television system is available in most areas with the majority of the 
population having cable service. 
 
There are numerous advertising agencies with a wide range of services.  
The large ones provide a full range of advertising services and are 
members of the Institute of Advertising Practitioners, which is closely 
associated with the American Association of Advertising Agencies. 
 
Advertising agencies utilize every medium available to advertisers:  
direct mailings, press, radio, television, point-of-sale advertising, 
posters, and public transportation placards.  Other promotional 
techniques, such as coupons, samples, premiums, and prizes, are also 
used.  Laws covering gaming and lotteries as well as restrictive trade 
practices are strictly enforced by the government.  Firms advertising 
and selling goods should obtain local advice regarding provisions of the 
laws and consumer acceptance of the promotional or marketing approach. 
 
Dutch firms engaged in market research provide the usual range of 
services, including store audits, consumer surveys, product field 
testing, and attitude and motivation research.  In general, if the 
advertising technique works well for your particular product line in the 
United States and elsewhere in Europe, the Dutch market should also be 
receptive to your theme but on a more reserved basis.  There are 
differences, however, and local opinion should be obtained first for a 
specific strategy that calls for a major commitment of the marketing 
budget. 
 
The names of Dutch advertising agencies, market research organizations, 
and management and public relations counseling firms may be found in 
such publications as the International Directory of Market Research 
Houses and Services, American Marketing Association, 420 Lexington 
Avenue, New York, NY 10017, Phone: (212) 687-3280, and the Directory of 
Marketing Research Agencies and Management Consultants in the United 
States and the World, Bradford, P.O. Box 276, Fairfax, VA 22030, Phone: 
(703) 560-7484. 
 
The principal advertising media are the press, television, and radio.  
Cinema is primarily a support medium with a strong reach among the 15 to 
24 year olds. 
 
The following are major Dutch newspapers: 
 
Algemeen Dagblad 
P.O. Box 8751 
3009 AT Rotterdam 
Phone: (31) 10 406 7211 
Fax: (21) 10 406 6975  
National conservative daily 
Circulation: 416,000   
 
Het Financieele Dagblad 
P.O. Box 216 
1000 AE Amsterdam 
Phone: (31) 20 557 4511 
Fax: (31) 20 557 4400 
National business daily 
Circulation: 41,000 
 
De Volkskrant 
P.O. Box 1002 
1000 BA Amsterdam 
Phone: (31) 20 562 9222 
Fax: (31) 20 562 6289 
National labor-oriented daily 
Circulation: 358,000 
 
De Telegraaf 
P.O. Box 376 
1000 EB Amsterdam 
Phone: (31) 20 585 9111 
Fax: (31) 20 585 2113 
Conservative, sensationalist national daily 
Circulation: 750,000   
 
NRC Handelsblad 
P.O. Box 8751 
3009 AT Rotterdam 
Phone: (31) 10 406 7211 
Fax: (21) 10 406 6975  
Influential, independent national evening daily 
Circulation: 268,000 
 
Elsevier 
P.O. Box 152 
1000 AD Amsterdam 
Phone: (31) 20 567 4911 
Fax: (31) 20 567 4592 
Weekly news and opinion 
Circulation:  124,000 
 
Management Team 
P.O. Box 397 
3900 AJ Veenendaal 
Phone: (31) 8385 21422 
Fax: (31) 8385 23136 
Bi-weekly national management magazine 
Circulation:  120,000 
 
The Netherlands participates in the International Convention to 
Facilitate the Importation of Commercial Samples and Advertising 
Materials.  Samples of negligible value imported to promote sales are 
accorded duty-free and tax-free treatment.  Prior authorization is not 
required.  To determine whether the samples are of negligible value, 
their value is compared with a commercial shipment of the same product.  
Granting of duty-free status may require that the samples be rendered 
useless for future sale by marking, perforating, cutting, or other 
means. 
 
Imported samples of commercial value may be granted a temporary entry 
and exemption from custom charges.  However, a bond or cash deposit may 
be required as security that the goods will be removed from the country.  
This security is the duty and tax normally levied plus 10 percent.  
Samples may remain in the country for up to 1 year.  They are not 
permitted to be sold, put to their normal use (except for demonstration 
purposes), or utilized in any manner for remuneration.  Goods imported 
as samples may be imported only in quantities constituting a sample 
according to normal commercial usage. 
 
Exhibitions are a cost-effective method to enter a foreign market and 
meet a wide range of buyers interested in a particular industry sector.  
Sales professionals find that trade fairs attract extensive buyer 
attendance and frequently can be used to gauge acceptance and pricing of 
new products and to observe the competition.  In the course of a few 
days, a new market entrant may be able to generate more qualified and 
motivated prospects than by using any other sales approach.  New 
products are frequently introduced at trade shows so that competitive 
products can be identified and evaluated as they emerge in the market 
place, thus providing important marketing information.  Fairs are 
particularly useful for introducing a new product to the market or for 
finding an agent, distributor, or representative. 
 
      Pricing Product 
 
The Netherlands is an extremely competitive market with high receptivity 
to U.S. goods.  When pricing product for sale in the Netherlands, U.S. 
exporters should be aware of additional costs which can reduce profit 
margins below those available in the United States. 
 
A value-added tax of 17.5 percent is charged on the majority of goods 
sold in the Netherlands.  Imported goods are also subject to customs 
duty.  The costs of transportation, freight forwarding and customs 
brokerage charges will further diminish margins, as will commissions to 
agents and distributors.  Commissions are generally higher in the 
Netherlands than in the U.S., as are retailers profit margins. 
 
As is the case in the U.S., pricing of product depends on a myriad of 
variables including:  channel of distribution, product, season, consumer 
receptivity, economic climate, etc.  The Commercial Service can offer 
U.S. exporters advice on product pricing if required. 
 
      Sales Service/Customer Support 
 
The Dutch can purchase from international sources and expect well-
designed, high-quality products, with efficient after-sales service.  An 
effective servicing system also should be incorporated into distribution 
plans. 
 
The U.S. exporter would be ill-advised, after having appointed a 
representative firm, to provide only product literature and samples and 
then expect to have good sales results.  Regular communications and 
visits to the representative, particularly when newly appointed, by 
seasoned sales personnel or company technicians can reveal information 
on market developments and assist in the solution of any problems.  
Regular submission of sales reports can be a vital link to analyzing 
sales results and identifying potential problems before a serious one 
occurs. 
 
      Selling to the Government 
 
It is almost impossible to sell to the Dutch government for U.S. 
companies without local representation.  All public sector procurement 
tenders over the threshold amount of 5 million ECU (US $4.3 million) are 
published both in the EU Journal and the Dutch Government Gazette 
(Staatscourant).  Companies interested in identifying and bidding on 
government procurements under this amount will have to contact the 
individual Dutch ministries directly.  A well connected local 
representative is vital in this process. 
 
      Protecting your Product from IPR Infringement 
 
The Netherlands has legislation for the protection of patents, 
trademarks, and industrial designs.  It is a member of the Paris Union, 
which adheres to the International Convention for the Protection of 
Industrial Property.  Detailed information and applications for patents, 
registration of trademarks, and for design protection should be obtained 
from: Patents Council,  Octrooiraad, Patentlaan 3, 2288 EE Rijswijk 
(ZH). 
 
The Netherlands is a signatory to the European Patent Convention, which 
provides for a centralized European-wide patent protection system.  The 
European Patents Act of 1977 provides increased legal protection, a 
patents court, and guidelines for compensation of an inventor. 
 
The European Patent Convention has simplified the process for obtaining 
patent protection in the EU member states.  Under the European 
Convention, an applicant for a patent is granted a preexamined 15-year, 
nonrenewable European patent that has the effect of a national patent in 
all 16 countries that are signatories of the convention, based on a 
single application to the European Patent Office.  This procedure should 
expedite the granting of patents.  However, infringement proceedings 
remain within the jurisdiction of the national courts, which could 
result in some divergent interpretations.  For information, write to the 
European Patent Office, Motorama-Haus, Rosenheimer Strasse 30, Munich, 
Germany. 
 
Both the Netherlands and the United States are signatories of the 
Universal Copyright Convention, which provides for mutual copyright 
protection.  The Netherlands is also a member of the Berne Convention, 
which forms the International Union for the Protection of Literary and 
Artistic Works. 
 
      Need for a Local Attorney 
 
While it is important to obtain specific legal advice on appointing an 
agent or distributor, some general guidelines follow.  All agent 
agreements should be in writing and state if it is an exclusive 
arrangement.  Termination of the relationship is the single main area 
that most frequently causes problems for American exporters.  Generally, 
the civil codes protect the interests of the representative.  In the 
absence of termination provisions in a written agreement, the law 
provides for a minimum notice of termination of four months.  Parties 
may agree to other terms, provided the notice of termination is not less 
than one month and up to 6 months, depending on the duration of the 
agency relationship.  An agreement with a definite period terminates on 
the agreed expiration date.  If the parties continue to operate under 
the agreement after that date, the agreement is usually deemed extended 
for a further identical period but not for more than a year.  If the 
American principal wants to terminate the relationship, notice of 
termination should be given, even with definite term contracts. 
 
The termination of an agreement without the required notice makes a 
principal liable for compensation.  The agent could seek to claim the 
amount of the commissions that would have been earned during the 
termination period or for the amount of actual damages suffered.  In 
exceptional cases, and only for just cause (such as competition or 
fraud), an agreement may be terminated without notice provided the other 
party is immediately advised of 
the reason.  In such cases, the courts may be requested to terminate the 
contract. 
 
At the expiration or termination of an agreement, by whatever means, an 
agent who has increased the value of the business is entitled in 
principle, to an adequate remuneration which cannot exceed the average 
of the commissions in one year.  Such claims by agents are subject to an 
expiration term of one year. 
 
A sales representative located in the Netherlands is in an ideal 
position to market a product throughout all of Europe.  Frequently, 
American firms will also rely on the Dutch distributor to handle the 
details of customs clearance, product labeling, and packaging for 
European preferences regarding the product.  These duties should be 
explicitly stated in a contract. 
 
Before entering into any agreement with a partner, the American 
principal should first review the provisions of Dutch law with a 
qualified attorney.  The legislation regarding unilateral termination of 
distribution agreements is designed to provide the local distributor 
with some degree of protection and monetary compensation when an 
agreement is terminated by the grantor, for reasons other than cause.  
The legislation will apply regardless of any clause in the agreement 
itself, and the parties may not deviate from the legislation as long as 
the distribution agreement is in force. 
 
Three kinds of agreements are generally recognized: 
 
*    Exclusive distributorships, where the distributor has the sole 
right to sell specified goods within a defined area. 
 
*    Quasi-exclusive distributorships, where the distributor sells 
almost all the specified products within a defined area. 
 
*    Informal distributor arrangements under which the grantor imposes 
heavy obligations on the distributor and which would cause damage to 
distributorship if the grantor terminated the agreement. 
 
In the absence of mutual agreement, or the failure to meet contract 
obligations, a distribution agreement of indefinite term cannot be 
terminated by the grantor without reasonable notice or fair 
compensation.  In general, grantors should consider protecting 
themselves by entering into agreements for definite periods rather than 
an indefinite period.  Also, specific minimum performance clauses should 
be considered, such as percent of distributor's sales, minimum annual 
sales, number of business contacts to be made, etc., and proposing that 
U.S. law and courts have jurisdiction. 
 
CHAPTER V.  LEADING SECTORS FOR U.S. EXPORTS AND INVESTMENT 
 
      Best Prospects for Non-Agricultural Goods and Services 
 
1 - Computer Software (CSF) 
 
Narrative:  The overall Dutch market for computer software products grew 
by some 7.5 percent to approximately US$ 1.6 billion in 1994.  Trade 
sources expect this growth rate to continue in 1995.  With mainframe and 
mid-range computer sales down, software sales for these systems also 
decreased.  The PC systems software segment and particularly standard 
software continued to grow significantly during the year at 5 and 10 
percent respectively.  These segments are expected to do well in 1995 
and 1996 as PC sales further expand into new markets, e.g. consumer 
market, and trends to replace custom software in favor of standard 
products continue.  The United States undoubtedly leads the market for 
imported software products.  There is continued strong interest in U.S. 
quality and new technology products.  Competition mainly comes from 
European Union countries, including United Kingdom and Germany.  The 
Dutch software market offers an open import market with few barriers for 
U.S. exporters.  A new copyright law, in effect since September 1994, 
now officially provides better software protection.  Best prospects for 
U.S. suppliers include all types of PC software products, software for 
UNIX systems, document information systems, groupware, EDI software, 
networking software and development tools. 
 
                                                $MILLION 
                                    1994        1995        1996 
A.  Total Market Size               1600        1720        1850 
B.  Total Local Production           640         670         705 
C.  Total Exports                     60          65          70 
D.  Total Imports                   1020        1115        1215 
E.  Imports from U.S.                610         670         730 
 
Exchange Rate:  US$1 = Dfl. 1.60 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
2 - Telecommunications Services (TES) 
 
Narrative:  The Netherlands offers enormous potential for American 
telecommunications service providers.  Like many other European 
countries the general thrust is to privatize telecommunications services 
and make them more competitive.  Value-added network services are 
already liberalized but voice telephony still falls under the monopoly 
of the Dutch telecom operator Royal PTT Netherlands or KPN until 1998.  
The partial privatization of KPN began in June 1994 with the first 
flotation of 30 percent of the companies shares; a second tranche is 
likely to follow in 1996.  In mid-1995 a second private nationwide 
mobile license was granted.  The cable networks are being subjected to a 
stream of mergers and acquisitions.  One of the larger networks, 
Amsterdam KTA, was recently sold to Philips Electronics and U.S. West.  
Legislation has been presented to parliament to lay down the legal 
conditions for issuing a second, private, nationwide network and several 
regional ones to compete with KPN for all services.  The intention was 
to offer this license to ENERTEL, a consortium of the Netherlands 
Railways, cable television operators, and electricity distributors.  
ENERTEL choose BellSouth as its partner.  This consortium was disbanded 
in June 1995.  The Netherlands Railways and the energy companies/cable 
companies will now pursue this license independently.  It is not 
inconceivable that two licenses will be granted.  Whatever the outcome, 
both parties will be looking to the U.S. for operator expertise.  In the 
first half of 1996, the Dutch transport ministry intends to issue a 
license to operate a PCN mobile network for the 1800MhZ wavelength.  It 
is unclear whether this will be one national license or a series of 
regional licenses.  Voice services for closed user groups are also 
offered in competition.  The railways, the public utility companies and 
recently the Ministry of Defense have all constructed their own fiber 
networks.  Voice services still represent the lion's share (75 percent) 
of total sales but the largest growth is expected to occur in data-
network services.  The best prospects for U.S. companies exist in this 
area. 
 
                                           $MILLION 
                               1994        1995       1996 
A.  Total Sales                7100        7800        8600 
B.  Sales by Local Firms       6400        7000        7700 
C.  Exports by Local Firms        -           -           - 
D.  Sales by Foreign-Imports 
    Firms                       700         800         900 
E.  Sales by U.S.-owned Firm    600         700         800 
 
Exchange Rate:  US$1 = Dfl.    1.90        1.60        1.60 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
3 - Electronic Components (ELC) 
 
Narrative:  The Dutch market for electronic components increased by 8-10 
percent in 1994 and is expected to maintain similar growth rates through 
1995 and into 1996.  Passive and electromechanical components made up 
about 35 percent of the total market.  These segments showed limited 
growth of about 1-2 percent.  Driven by increased use in the expanding 
end-user sectors (data- and telecommunications, consumer products, 
industrial applications, computing and automotive equipment) demand for 
semiconductors increased at an estimated 12-15 percent.  Local 
production and trade statistics are vague to protect the interest of 
Philips, the Netherlands' main producer and end-user of electronic 
components.  After reorganizing, Philips, which produces professional 
and consumer electronics all over the world, posted its highest profits 
in years for 1994.  To keep up with growth in the world market, the 
company will heavily invest in its component and semiconductor division 
over the next few years and already announced a joint venture with IBM 
to produce semiconductor wafers in Germany.  The larger U.S. and 
Japanese component manufacturers all have plants located in Europe where 
they produce for distribution across the European Union.  The Dutch 
market continues to be attractive for U.S. exporters.  U.S. components, 
both active and passive, are popular and well respected, and U.S. export 
sales should also benefit from lower dollar exchange rates. 
 
                                            $MILLION 
                                1994        1995        1996 
A.  Total Market Size           1025        1115        1215 
B.  Total Local Production       565         615         670 
C.  Total Exports                450         490         535 
D.  Total Imports                910         990        1080 
E.  Imports from U.S.            145         160         175 
 
Exchange Rate:  US$1 = Dfl. 1.60 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
4 - Computer Services (CSV) 
 
Narrative:  The changing Dutch market for computer services represents a 
major share of approximately 40 percent of the total Dutch information 
technology market.  Computer services as a whole grew by only 2 or 3 
percent in 1994, showing a decrease in the areas of maintenance and 
development of custom software.  Maintenance and custom development 
currently still account for more than one half of the total computer 
services market.  As these two areas further decline, however, other 
segments are rapidly growing and offer excellent prospects for increased 
sales.  The fastest growing services are in facilities management and 
network services, which increased 12-15 percent in 1994.  Further growth 
opportunities exist in systems integration, consulting and 
training/education services.  A large variety of some 5,000 firms, 
ranging from very small to multinational, offer computer services in the 
Netherlands.  About 30 percent of the market is in the hands of the top 
5, primarily local, services providers.  A number of U.S. companies have 
successfully established themselves in this market, and are expected to 
continue to do well as others enter the Dutch market for the first time.  
Demand comes mainly from larger Dutch companies and government 
organizations and is forecasted to grow significantly in the next few 
years as new, often complex, information systems are implemented. 
 
                                            $MILLION 
                                1994        1995        1996 
A.  Total Market Size           4050        4150        4275 
B.  Total Local Sales           2825        2905        2990 
C.  Total Local Export Sales       -           -           - 
D.  Tot. Sls. Frgn-owned Firms  1225        1245        1285 
E.  Sales U.S.-owned Firms       735         745         770 
 
Exchange Rate:  US$1 = Dfl. 1.60 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
5 - Computers and Peripherals (CPT) 
 
Narrative:  The total Dutch computer hardware market amounted to US$ 
3.75 billion in 1994, showing limited growth of 1 percent over 1993.  
Trade sources are forecasting growth of 2.5 percent for 1995.  Fast 
growing opportunities emerged in the hardware sector, with strong 
interest in distributed architectures and new PC technology.  The PC 
market of US$ 1.56 billion grew to approximately 40 percent of the total 
hardware market and recorded strong gains in 1994.  The PC segment is 
expected to continue at a healthy growth rate in 1995 and 1996.  By 
1996, unit sales are expected to reach 800,000.  The PC 
business/professional market is maturing and primarily a replacement 
market.  The consumer and "Small Office Home Office" (SOHO) market offer 
enormous potential.  Of the 6.4 million Dutch households, 33 percent 
reportedly have installed a PC with many of the systems ready for 
upgrading or replacement.  The market for mainframes and mid-range 
systems decreased further with the exception of UNIX-based systems.  The 
Netherlands is primarily an import market in which U.S. suppliers of all 
types of hardware play an important role.  Local PC producers include 
Dutch Tulip and Taiwan's Acer.  Additionally, limited assembly takes 
place in the Netherlands using imported components and sub-assemblies.  
Increasingly, U.S. manufacturers, particularly in the PC and workstation 
segment, supply the Netherlands from local European factories.  
Furthermore, several of the larger U.S. suppliers import and re-export 
products throughout the European Union from distribution centers in the 
Netherlands, taking advantage of its central location, transportation 
and communication facilities and value added logistics services.  Best 
prospects in the hardware sector include desktop and portable PC 
systems, PC peripherals and supplies, UNIX-based systems, optical 
storage devices and data communication/LAN hardware.   
 
                                             $MILLION 
                                1994         1995       1996 
A.  Total Market Size           3750         3790       3885 
B.  Total Local Production       850          860        885 
C.  Total Exports               2100         2120       2175 
D.  Total Imports               5000         5050       5175 
E.  Imports from U.S.           1500         1500       1500 
 
Exchange Rate:  US$1 = Dfl. 1.60 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
6 - Telecommunications Equipment (TEL) 
 
Narrative:  Telecommunications equipment only accounts for nine percent 
of the total telecommunications market in the Netherlands.  Real growth 
in sales of telecommunications equipment rose moderately in 1995 as the 
sole infrastructure provider, Royal PTT Netherlands (KPN) reaches 
finalization of its digital network.  This scenario is likely to change 
once the license holders of the GSM mobile network, second land network, 
and PCN mobile network start building their infrastructures.  
Additionally, the cable operators and utilities will also compensate for 
the telecom operator's decrease in hardware requirements.  This trend is 
likely to become evident in 1996 and beyond. U.S. manufacturers are well 
represented in the Netherlands.  AT&T Network Systems International is 
headquartered in the Netherlands and is the main truck switching and 
transmission supplier to KPN.  Best prospects for U.S. suppliers exist 
in mobile communications (GSM and DECT), voice processing systems, SDH 
and ATM, ISDN terminal equipment and network equipment. 
 
                                          $MILLION 
                                  1994     1995        1996 
A.  Total Market Size              860      900         900 
B.  Total Local Production         960     1000        1000 
C.  Total Exports                  660      720         800 
D.  Total Imports                  560      620         700 
E.  Imports from U.S.              110      120         125 
 
Exchange Rate:  US$1 = Dfl.    1.90    1.60    1.60 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
7 - Pollution Control Equipment (POL) 
 
Narrative:  Awareness of the environment plays a major role in the daily 
lives of the Dutch people.  This is largely due to the demographic 
characteristics and geographical position of the country.  The 
Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, 
with intensive industrial and agricultural activities, and the most 
livestock per acre in Europe.  Together with Germany, the Netherlands 
has the most stringent environmental regulations in the European Union.  
These regulations have forced companies and private citizens to invest 
in products and services designed to prevent, control, and analyze 
pollution.  Total expenditures on cleaning the environment amount to 
approximately $9.5 bn annually.  This figure includes local and federal 
taxes, services and pollution control equipment.  To enable end-users to 
comply with these regulations, domestic manufacturers of pollution 
control equipment have rapidly adjusted their products, or have designed 
new ones.  The same applies to the Dutch environmental consulting 
service sector.  Dutch manufacturers and service providers play a 
leading role in the Dutch and other European markets.  U.S. suppliers 
offering high-tech pollution control equipment will find good market 
prospects in the Netherlands and throughout Europe because the demand 
for a cleaner environment by both governments and citizens is growing.  
U.S. suppliers should also utilize Dutch expertise to introduce products 
onto other European markets. 
 
                                           $MILLION 
                                1994       1995         1996 
A.  Total Market Size            886        941         1013 
B.  Total Local Production       914        977         1051 
C.  Total Exports                333        341          366 
D.  Total Imports                285        305          328 
E.  Imports from U.S.             51         54           58 
 
Exchange Rate:  US$1 = Dfl.    1.90    1.60    1.60 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
8 - Travel and Tourism Services (TRA) 
 
Narrative:  Given the scale and importance of USA/Netherlands economic 
and commercial ties, it is not surprising that business travel remains 
strong.  A combination of low dollar exchange rates and intensive 
competition on transatlantic fares, have contributed to the strong 
growth in travel and tourism to the U.S. from the Netherlands.  In 1994, 
arrivals from the Netherlands increased by 14.5 percent (433,846) 
compared with 1993, and arrivals are expected to increase by 9.8 percent 
in 1995, to 476,299.  The projection for 1996 is 522,9760 arrivals.  
European countries including France (22 percent), Germany (12 percent), 
and Spain (12 percent) are the most popular destinations for Dutch 
travellers.  The U.S. is the most popular long-haul destination for the 
Dutch with 32 percent of all long-haul trips, leaving Asia, the Far 
East, Latin America and others far behind.  All market indicators point 
to continued, solid growth in the Dutch market for travel and tourism 
services. 
 
                                           $MILLION 
                                 1994      1995        1996 
A.  Total Market Size (Sales)    7130      7720        8330 
B.  Total Local Sales            1128      1188        1251 
C.  Total Export Sales           2610      2850        3110 
D.  Total Import Sales           6530      7130        7785 
E.  U.S. Sales                    736       808         887 
 
Exchange Rate:  US$1 = Dfl. 1.60 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
9 - Aircraft and Parts (AIR) 
 
Narrative:  The airline industry appears to be slowly pulling out of its 
worldwide recession.  For the aircraft manufacturer Fokker, which was 
taken over by the German company Deutsche Aerospace (DASA) in 1994, this 
revival has manifested itself in an increase in the production of its 
F70/F100 jetliners and its F50/60 prop jetliners to 42 and 15 
respectively for 1995.  In 1994 production was reduced to 40 aircraft.  
To maintain profitability, Fokker will reduce its workforce by over 
1,760 employees over the next two years.  The depreciation of the dollar 
is making the company consider moving production to a country where 
costs are lower and suppliers are paid in dollars.  In 1995, Boeing 
defeated Fokker in a competitive order to supply the equivalent of 35 
F70's to the Swedish airline company SAS.  Fokker in turn won the 
contract to supply Alitalia with fifteen F70's at the expense of British 
Aerospace.  Fokker also hopes to win orders from Sabena/Swissair and 
replace KLM's fleet of aged Fokker 28's (4) with Fokker 100/70's.  The 
McDonnell Douglas MD-95, which Fokker anticipates could be its major 
future competitor for the F100/F70 and 125 seater jetliner markets, has 
still not found a launch customer.  In 1994, the Dutch airline company 
KLM announced that it would replace its fleet of seven Airbus 310's with 
Boeing 767-300 ERs.  KLM takes delivery of its first Boeing in 1995.  
This export sale of $700 million is not reflected in the figures below 
because the aircraft are on lease through International Lease Finance 
Corporation.  The Netherlands' second airline company, Transavia (80 
percent owned by KLM) will decide at the end of 1995 whether to buy 
Boeings (between 6-10) for its fleet renewal.  This could represent an 
export order for Boeing of $240-$400.  Delivery is expected before the 
year 2000. 
 
                                            $MILLION 
                                1994        1995        1996 
A.  Total Market Size            950        1356        1400 
B.  Total Local Production      1360        1938        2000 
C.  Total Exports               1360        1938        2000 
D.  Total Imports                950        1356        1400 
E.  Imports from U.S.            380         540         560 
 
Exchange Rate:  US$1 = Dfl.    1.90   1.60   1.60 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
10 - Building Products (BLD) 
 
Narrative:  The Dutch building industry at this moment is marked by an 
increased activity in the residential buildings sector.  Due to shortage 
of housing in the Netherlands, annually some 90,000 new homes are built 
with a total value of $ 7.6 Billion.  The average age of homes in the 
netherlands is 40 years.  Rather than demolishing the older buildings, 
there is a growing trend towards renovating these houses.  Annual 
expenditures in this area are $ 1.5 Billion.  The construction of new 
utility buildings accounts for $ 5.9 Billion annually. 
 
Due to the big difference between U.S. and Dutch building techniques, 
best prospects for general U.S. building products can best be determined 
on a case by case basis.  However, interesting possibilities for U.S. 
manufacturers are seen in the DIY sub-sector, which has been one of the 
best prospects in the building sector for years, and will continue to be 
in the medium term. 
 
                                         $MILLION 
                                1994     1995      1996 
A.  Total Market Size           9450     11782    12456 
B.  Total Local Production      7087      8836     9342 
C.  Total Exports               2362      2945     3113 
D.  Total Imports               4725      5891     6228 
E.  Imports from U.S.            756       942      996 
 
Exchange Rate  US$1 = Dfl.   1.90   1.60   1.60 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
11 - Automotive Parts & Service Equipment (APS) 
 
Narrative:  The Netherlands has one of the highest passenger car 
densities in Europe.  The total number of registered cars is 5.5 
million.  With a population of 15 million, this equals 2.7 automobiles 
per inhabitant.  Annually some 400,000 cars are sold with a total value 
of $ 8.4 billion.  Only a very small percentage of these cars are 
manufactured in the U.S. 
 
Due to the increased application of high-tech in cars, the Dutch are 
using more complex and sophisticated garage and workshop tools and 
equipment.  Best prospect sub-sectors are garage testing lanes and 
electronic testing and diagnostics equipment.  Also the Netherlands has 
a growing environmental concern, which causes a need for new and 
innovative environment-friendly products and technologies. 
 
There is also a growing Dutch trend towards car-customizing.  
Opportunities are seen for U.S. manufacturers of high quality and price 
competitive audio equipment, alloy wheels, wooden trimmings, seat covers 
and other interior and exterior accessories for European cars.  The 
increased value of cars and higher theft rates also create demand for a 
wide range of anti-theft products. 
 
                                           $MILLION 
                                1994        1995        1996 
A.  Total Market Size           3090        3780        3904 
B.  Total Local Production      1850        2260        2337 
C.  Total Exports               1440        1760        1819 
D.  Total Imports               2680        3280        3386 
E.  Imports from U.S.            332         410         419 
 
Exchange Rate:  US$1 = Dfl.   1.90   1.60   1.60 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
12 - Medical Equipment and Supplies (MED) 
 
Narrative:  The market for medical equipment and supplies in the 
Netherlands is expected to follow trends in the rest of the world, which 
indicate potential growth of between 6 and 8 percent over the next 2 
years.  The Netherlands' aging population and currently low per capita 
consumption of medical devices indicates increasing demand for high 
technology medical products.  This sector is interesting for U.S. 
suppliers because the market is relatively accessible and regulations 
pertaining to medical devices are far less stringent than those in the 
U.S.  European legislation makes regulations and clinical trials 
procedures more streamlined throughout the Union.  Approvals typically 
take three to six months.  The U.S. makes the largest contribution to 
Dutch imports of medical equipment and supplies, accounting for about 25 
percent of total imports.  Germany accounts for a similar percentage and 
is our biggest competitor, with Japan making inroads into the sector.  
Best product subsectors are medical/surgical instruments, disposables, 
and imaging products. 
 
                                            $MILLION 
                                1994        1995        1996 
A.  Total Market Size           1000        1100        1250 
B.  Total Local Production      1700        1675        1700 
C.  Total Exports               2100        2100        2100 
D.  Total Imports               1400        1525        1650 
E.  Imports from U.S.            350         380         450 
 
Exchange Rate:  US$1 = Dfl.   1.90   1.60   1.60 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
13 - Laboratory and Scientific Instrumentation (LAB) 
 
Narrative:  The laboratory market has staged a modest comeback in 1995.  
The industry  performed poorly in 1993 with sales falling by 0.5 
percent.  This decline came to a halt in 1994.  Year end sales increased 
by 0.5 percent compared to 1993.  This recovery continued in 1995.  The 
Dutch Instrumentation Industry Association published sales figures for 
its members that represent 90 percent of the industry indicate that in 
the first quarter of 1995 sales rose by 9.1 percent compared to the 
first quarter of 1994.  The industry is optimistic that this trend will 
continue into 1996.  The comeback is partly the result of the recovery 
in the chemical industry and the continual growth in the pharmaceutical 
industry, the main customers for laboratory instrument makers and 
suppliers.  Over 80 percent of domestic demand is met by imports and the 
U.S. has over 30 percent of this import market with Germany second with 
over 20 percent.  The market is very receptive to U.S. products and the 
depreciation of the dollar has increased this receptivity.  All the 
major U.S. players have facilities in the Netherlands and the general 
consensus is that innovations in the laboratory industry in the U.S. 
occur several years before those in Europe.  On the product distribution 
side, the industry is characterized by a large number (over 240) of 
small to medium size suppliers with low profit margins.  The most 
promising sub-sectors are instruments and apparatus for biotechnology, 
laboratory automation (so-called LIMS), spectrophotometers, 
instrumentation for controlling the environment in laboratories and in 
the chemical industry, robotics and innovative spin-offs from aerospace 
research.  As in other markets in Europe, constraints imposed by quality 
control to implement ISO 9000 certification and stringent pollution 
control regulations are important influencing factors. 
 
                                            $MILLION 
                                    1994     1995     1996 
A.  Total Market Size                700      725      745 
B.  Total Local Production           100       95       95 
C.  Total Exports                     95      100      105 
D.  Total Imports                    695      730      755 
E.  Imports from U.S.                205      215      225 
 
Exchange Rate:  US$1 = Dfl.    1.90    1.60    1.60 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
14 - Security Equipment (SEC) 
 
Narrative:  In 1994, total expenditures on security equipment and 
services were approximately $1.2 Billion.  Of this amount, about $890 
million was spent on surveillance, guard, and miscellaneous security 
services, and on special constructions within buildings.  An additional 
$439 million was spent on security equipment and systems.  Imports 
account for approximately 90 percent of the total Dutch market in this 
sector.  After Germany and the U.K., the U.S. is ranked third as a 
supplier of security equipment to the Netherlands.  As criminals become 
more professional, more demands will be made on security equipment which 
needs to be reliable and resistant to eavesdropping and sabotage.  Law 
enforcement agencies require high-tech equipment to stay ahead of 
criminals.  This subsector is a fast growing market.  Best  prospects 
include computer controlled burglar alarm systems, access control and 
identification equipment, and shoplifting detectors. 
 
                                          $MILLION 
                              1994        1995        1996 
A.  Total Market Size          439         484         532 
B.  Total Local Production      43          46          49 
C.  Total Exports               37          38          39 
D.  Total Imports              433         476         522 
E.  Imports from U.S.           44          48          52 
 
Exchange Rate  US$1 = Dfl.    1.90    1.60    1.60 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
15 - Household Consumer Goods (HCG) 
 
Narrative:  The following market trends are expected to influence 
consumer demand: - demand for high-quality products is increasing.  This 
trend is a positive one for American manufacturers, whose products 
compete well with higher-end, European products.  Housewares are 
becoming more sensitive to fashion and trends and there is a definite 
growth in the 'cocooning' trend whereby consumers are spending more of 
their disposable income on improving the interiors of their homes.  
Exports of U.S. housewares to the Netherlands remain well behind 
competition from Europe and the Far East although exposure to American 
media stimulates demand for American products.  U.S. products enjoy the 
reputation of being innovative and of a high quality.  The low U.S. 
dollar exchange rate adds to the potential for U.S. exports. 
 
                                           $MILLION 
                               1994        1995        1996 
A.  Total Market Size          4780        4850        4900 
B.  Total Local Production      780         720         720 
C.  Total Exports               500         500         500 
D.  Total Imports              4500        4600        4600 
E.  Imports from U.S.           275         300         320 
 
Exchange Rate:  US$1 = Dfl. 1.60 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
16 - Apparel (APP) 
 
Narrative:  U.S. apparel exporters are likely to face increased 
competition with imports from East Asia in the Dutch market.  On the 
positive side, there is some evidence that production costs may no 
longer be the main determinant of competitiveness in this market.  
Services, including management costs, storage, quality control and 
marketing, are increasingly seen as key factors in supply strategies in 
this sector.  American-made apparel remains in demand.  Dutch consumers 
follow American fashion trends closely, especially trends in branded 
apparel.  A new branded product that is selling well in the U.S., will 
be in demand in the Netherlands within six months. 
 
Most promising subsector:  Sports and Leisure Wear 
Market size (1995 est.): $1,950 million 
 
                                           $MILLION 
                               1994        1995        1996 
A.  Total Market Size          3320        3320        3340 
B.  Total Local Production      720         720         700 
C.  Total Exports              1900        1900        2100 
D.  Total Imports              4500        4500        4600 
E.  Imports from U.S.            18          25          35 
 
Exchange Rate:  US$1 = Dfl. 1.60 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
17 - Electrical Power Systems (ELP) 
 
Narrative:  In the Netherlands, power consumption grew from 61 billion 
KWH in 1984, to 84 KWH in 1994.  This represents an annual average 
growth of 4 percent.  Decentralized power generation through co-
generation is growing explosively and is expected to rise to a total 
capacity level of 8000 MW by the year 2000.  By then, co-generation will 
satisfy about half of total consumption.  At present, it supplies 30 
percent of total demand.  To avoid a possible overcapacity, the large 
power producers and distributors have tried to limit the uncontrolled 
growth of co-generation.  The association of Dutch electricity producers 
and the industry have recently agreed to reduce the total planned co-
generation capacity expansion by 480 MW of primarily small co-generation 
projects.  Thirty other large co-generation projects related to industry 
and town heating projects, with a capacity of 2,200 MW, will be executed 
as planned.  The public electricity producers have decided to put a 
moratorium on the construction of new electricity plants.  They do not 
foresee any major investments in the coming years. 
 
Natural gas continues to be the main energy source, whereas the share of 
oil remains below one percent.  Coal gasification power generation will 
cover up to one third of the generating capacity. Nuclear energy is 
expected to continue to play a minimal role. 
 
Domestic firms are the major suppliers of electricity generating 
equipment in the Netherlands.  One major domestic supplier, however, is 
a subsidiary of a large Swiss/Swedish conglomerate. 
 
The Dutch market has been largely closed to U.S. suppliers, but the 
market opening provisions of the European Union public utilities 
directive, US-EU utility directive negotiations, and some Dutch moves to 
improve their competition policy in the face of increasing foreign 
pressure may open this difficult market somewhat in the coming years. 
 
                                         $MILLION 
                                1994     1995        1996 
A.  Total Market Size            819      812         800 
B.  Total Local Production       792      786         780 
C.  Total Exports                 61       61          65 
D.  Total Imports                 88       87          85 
E.  Imports from U.S.              6        5           5 
 
Exchange Rate  US$1 = Dfl.    1.90    1.60    1.60 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
      Best Prospects for Agricultural Products 
 
Fresh Grapefruit 
 
Narrative:  U.S. exports of fresh grapefruit can be expected to continue 
to rise, given an increase in exportable U.S. supplies.  In 1992 and 
1993, exportable supplies of U.S. grapefruits were sharply reduced by a 
hard freeze that destroyed much of the crop.  While 1994 imports 
increased again it can be expected that 1995 figures, at least in the 
first half will be down.  Heavy rains in Florida in the period 
November/December had a detrimental effect on the quality of the crop.  
Florida produced a relative large quantity of large size fruit whereas 
the Dutch market demand is for the smaller sizes.  Dutch consumers have 
always been willing to pay the higher prices for quality U.S. pink 
grapefruit. 
 
                                            Metric Tons 
                                  1994      1995      1996 
A. Total Market Size             29931     30000     33000 
B. Local Production                  -           -       - 
C. Total Exports                 64070     50000     53000 
D. Total Imports                 94001     80000     86000 
E. Imports from U.S.             37939     30000     32500 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Tobacco 
 
Narrative:  Due to increasing cigarette production and a substantial 
increase of cigar exports, Dutch tobacco consumption held up fairly well 
in 1994.  The U.S. market share, as a percentage of total consumption, 
was 23 percent, slightly up from 1993.  For 1995 we expect a growth in 
U.S. market share to 25 percent due to increasing production capacity.  
Although there is an increasing competition from countries like 
Zimbabwe, U.S. quality tobaccos will be most important to the Dutch 
cigarette industry. 
 
                                         Metric Tons 
                              1994       1995        1996 
A. Market Size               87775      86500       87000 
B. Local Production              -          -           - 
C. Total Exports              6109       6200        6700 
D. Total Imports             86546      89000       93000 
E. Imports from U.S.         21217      22000       23500 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Wine 
 
Narrative:  U.S. exports of wine have expanded rapidly in the past few 
years, more than tripling since 1989.  The expansion can be expected to 
continue as U.S. wine exporters have been able to establish extensive 
distribution, in both restaurants and retail outlets.  As the awareness 
of American wines in the Dutch market is still very low, a continuous 
generic promotion for U.S. wines is a necessity to further develop this 
market.  The 1995 imports of U.S. wine in the Netherlands will be 
positively influenced by a large scale promotion of American wines with 
the largest wine and liquor retail chain in the country.  Unlike other 
EU member states, wine consumption in the Netherlands continues to grow. 
 
                                        HectoLiters 
                              1994       1995       1996 
A. Total Market Size       2202621    2250000    2287000 
B. Local Production              -          -          - 
C. Total Exports            144134     150000     151000 
D. Total Imports           2346755    2400000    2438000 
E. Imports from U.S.          8634      12500      15000 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Pecans 
 
Narrative:  In 1995 pecan imports from the United States will drop off 
because of a low crop and high prices.  It is very likely that the 
1995/96 market will increase again as new crop prospects are good.  The 
U.S. pecan industry is active with generic promotion in the Dutch market 
and results over the past five years have been very satisfying.  The 
pecan is a relatively new nut in the market and there are plenty of 
opportunities for the U.S. pecan industry to further develop this 
market. 
 
                                        Metric Tons 
                               1994      1995      1996 
A. Total Market Size            511       400       443 
B. Local Production               -         -         - 
C. Total Exports                119        50        57 
D. Total Imports                630       450       500 
E. Imports from U.S.            629       440       470 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Beef & Veal 
 
Narrative:  The GATT agreement opens new export perspectives for the 
U.S. meat industry.  Most likely as of 1996, U.S. beef can no longer be 
refused entry into the EU because of the hormone issue.  The high 
quality, tender U.S. beef is much in demand specially with the hotel and 
restaurant industry in Western Europe.  Although, even more important, 
it is likely that the beef variety meat trade from the U.S. to the EU 
will be resumed. 
 
                                        Metric Tons  
                                 1994      1995      1996 
A. Total Market Size           300000    285000    325000 
B. Local Production            600000    575000    570000 
C. Total Exports               403558    400000    405000 
D. Total Imports               140000    130000    135000 
E. Imports from U.S              1345      1500      1700 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Honey 
 
Narrative:  Over the years, the United States has been a quality 
supplier of honey to the Netherlands.  Relative small quantities of U.S. 
honey were imported mostly to blend with and bring flavor to other 
origin honey.  The Dutch market for U.S. honey might be further 
developed if the U.S. honey industry could increase the awareness of the 
high quality of the U.S. product with the Dutch honey processors. 
 
                                        Metric Tons  
                                   1994      1995      1996 
A. Total Market Size               7972      7957      7979 
B. Local Production                  62        57        59 
C. Total Exports                    544       600       598 
D. Total Imports                   8454      8500      8590 
E. Imports from U.S.                 17       150       162 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
Dried Prunes 
 
Narrative:  The United States supplies a very high quality dried prune 
to the Netherlands.  Trade is hampered by competition from the French 
dried prune industry which is favored by EU protection.  Dutch traders 
however are very keen on the quality of the U.S. product and are willing 
to pay a premium for it. 
 
                                        Metric Tons  
                                   1994      1995      1996 
A. Total Market Size               2539      2500      2500 
B. Local Production                   -         -         - 
C. Total Exports                    626       700       695 
D. Total Imports                   3165      3200      3300 
E. Imports from U.S.                516       700       750 
 
The above statistics are unofficial estimates. 
 
    Significant Investment Opportunities 
 
The most significant investment projects planned are: 
 
*   A new all-freight rail line between Rotterdam and Germany (The 
"Betuwelijn") 
 
*   A high speed passenger rail line to Germany and France using the 
French TGV 
 
*   A project to upgrade and expand the Port of Rotterdam ("Havenplan 
2010") 
 
*   Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport "Masterplan 2003". 
 
*   Amsterdam Cruise Ship Port 
 
CHAPTER VI.  TRADE REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS 
 
     Trade Barriers, Including Tariffs, Non-Tariff Barriers and Import 
Taxes 
 
Tariffs 
 
The Netherlands applies the EU tariffs (customs duties), which are based 
on the international Harmonized System (HS) of product classification.  
Duty rates on manufactured goods from the United States generally range 
from 5 to 8 percent and are usually based on the c.i.f. value of the 
goods at the port of entry.  The c.i.f. value is the price of the goods 
(usually the sales price) plus packing costs, insurance, and freight 
charges to the port of entry.  Most raw materials enter duty free or at 
low rates while agricultural products face higher rates and special 
levies.  For information on EU duty rates levied on agricultural 
products, contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Phone: (202) 720 
1322.  For information on EU duty rates of manufactured and industrial 
products, contact the U.S. Department of Commerce,  International Trade 
Administration's Office of European Union Affairs, Phone: (202) 482 
5276. 
 
Non-Tariff Barriers 
 
Relatively few trade complaints are registered by American firms against 
Dutch firms.  The Dutch tendency to support a level playing field in 
trade matters and their depth of experience in trade positions them as 
genuine "neutral" traders of Europe. 
 
American companies locating in the Netherlands, however, will come up 
against a complex business culture, in which companies, trade unions, 
government bodies and industry associations engage in constant and close 
consultations.  This comes, in part, from the traditional Dutch emphasis 
on achieving consensus and avoiding conflict in this small and densely 
populated country. 
 
There is also a growing trend, particularly in larger government 
procurements, to "buy European" if not Dutch.  This has been especially 
true in recent defense procurements where there has been true Dutch or 
European competition.  The Dutch consider themselves to be good 
Europeans and, from a practical point of view, they see political 
advantages in buying European, especially when all else is relatively 
equal in a bid competition.  In this regard, local representation is 
almost essential for American companies hoping to have a real chance to 
win major government contracts.  A joint venture with a Dutch or 
European partner may, in some cases, improve the U.S. company's 
competitive position.  Companies looking to compete on Dutch government 
procurements should contact the Commercial section at the Embassy early 
on in the process for guidance, particularly if there are political or 
"level playing field" issues which might arise. 
 
Import Taxes 
 
Excise taxes are levied on a small number of products such as soft 
drinks, wine, beer, spirits, tobacco, sugar, and petroleum products.  
For imports, the excise tax is paid by the importer and is in addition 
to any customs duty or VAT.  The EU plans to harmonize excise taxes and 
create the single internal market. 
 
      Customs Valuation 
 
The Dutch, like the Americans, use the Harmonized System which is a 
system designed to classify goods in international trade for customs 
purposes and for developing trade statistics.  It is arranged into 99 
chapters.  The sections are established according to categories such as 
agriculture, chemicals, chief material of the product, or type of 
manufacturing industry.  The sections and chapters start with 
agricultural and primary products in the initial chapters, followed by 
products that are more processed and technically more complex. 
 
The HS classification number consists of a minimum of six digits, which 
are common to all countries using the Harmonized System.  Additional 
digits can be used to meet each nation's individual statistical 
requirements and give greater detail as needed. 
 
If a HS number of the product being shipped is requested by the Dutch, 
importer, this information may be obtained from your closest Commercial 
Service district office or from the Office of European Union Affairs, 
Phone: (202) 482 5276.  The HS number is usually needed by the Dutch 
importer to determine the duties levied at time of importation. 
 
Prior to signing a long-term contract or sending a shipment of 
considerable value, it may be prudent for a U.S. exporter to first 
obtain an official ruling on the customs classification, duty rate, and 
taxes.  Such requests should be sent to: Ministry of Finance, Director 
of Customs, P.O. Box 20201, 2500 EE The Hague. 
 
The request should describe the product, the material it is made from, 
and other details needed by customs authorities to classify the product 
correctly.  While customs will not provide a binding decision, the 
advance ruling usually will be accepted if the goods are found to 
correspond exactly to the sample of description provided. 
 
      Import Licenses 
 
Only a small number of goods of U.S. origin require import licenses, 
mostly agricultural and food items.  Other items subject to import 
licensing requirements include coal and lignite fuel, a few specified 
base metal products, various apparel and textile products, and 
controlled items such as arms and munitions.  Licenses are generally 
rapidly granted for goods of U.S. origin. 
 
Licenses are not transferable.  They may be used to cover several 
shipments within the total quantity authorized.  In general, the goods 
involved are indicated on the license by the Harmonized System 
classification number and the corresponding wording of the tariff 
position. 
 
      Export Controls 
 
For the purpose of national security, foreign policy, or short supply 
considerations, the United States controls the export of goods and 
technology with two broad categories of export licenses - general and 
validated.  The vast majority of U.S. exports are shipped abroad under 
general licenses with no formal application required. 
 
For assistance in determining what type of license is needed and to 
initiate the processing of an application, contact your local Department 
of Commerce district office or the Bureau of Export Administration, 
Office of Export Assistance, Room H-1099D, U.S. Department of Commerce, 
Washington, DC 20230, Phone: (202) 482 4811. 
 
      Import/Export Documentation 
 
Merchandise may be examined by the importer before customs clearance for 
the purpose of making an inventory.  Goods cannot clear customs without 
shipping documents and payment of any customs duty, applicable value 
added taxes, and any excise taxes.  These formalities must be undertaken 
by the importer at the time of clearing customs.  Import licenses, if 
required, should be presented by the importer within the period for 
which they were issued. 
 
Shipments to the Netherlands require one copy each of the bill of lading 
(or air waybill) and the commercial invoice for customs clearance.  
There are no consular requirements, but certificates of origin may be 
required as set out below. 
 
U.S. Customs also requires two copies of the U.S. Shipper's Export 
Declaration (U.S. Department of Commerce Form 7525V) for goods valued at 
$1,500 or more.  A declaration form must be completed for all shipments 
by regular mail or parcel post valued at $500 or more.  The form must 
include the harmonized commodity number of the exported product as well 
as the weight stated in metric units.  When sending goods through the 
mail, the exporter should inquire at the post office as to the proper 
documentation needed for mail shipments.  For additional information or 
assistance on export documentation, readers should contact a local 
Commercial Service district office. 
 
Although no special format is prescribed for the commercial invoice, it 
is advisable to include the following: date and place of shipment; name 
(firm's name) and address of the seller and buyer; method of shipment; 
number, markings of the packages, and their numerical order; description 
of the goods using the usual commercial description according to kind, 
quality, grade, and the weight (gross and net, in metric units), along 
with any factors increasing or decreasing the value; agreed price of 
goods; unit cost; total cost f.o.b. factory plus shipping; insurance 
charges; delivery and payment terms; and the signature of a responsible 
official of the shipper's firm.  Bills of lading should bear the name of 
the party to be notified.  The consignee needs the original bill of 
lading to take possession of the goods. 
 
Certificates of origin are required for a small number of goods such as 
textile products.  The need for a certificate of origin should be 
ascertained directly from the importer or from the appropriate customs 
authority.  Letter-of-credit terms may stipulate that a certificate of 
origin be provided.  Customs authorities accept certificates of origin 
issued by authorized local U.S. chambers of commerce or boards of trade. 
 
      Temporary Entry 
 
Carnets 
 
As a result of various customs agreements, simplified procedures are 
available to U.S. business and professional people for the temporary 
importation of commercial samples and professional equipment.  A carnet 
is a customs document that facilitates customs clearance for temporary 
imports of samples or equipment.  With the carnet, goods may be imported 
without the payment of duty, tax, or additional security.  The carnet 
also usually saves 
time since formalities are all arranged before leaving the United 
States. 
 
A carnet is usually valid for 1 year from the date of issuance.  The 
cost ranges from $120 to $250.  A bond or cash deposit of 40 percent of 
the value of the goods covered by the carnet is also required.  This 
will be forfeited in the event the products are not reexported and 
duties and taxes are not paid. 
 
Carnets are sold in the United States by the U.S. Council for 
International Business at the following locations: 1212 Avenue of the 
Americas, New York, NY 10036, Phone: (212) 354 4480; 3345 Wilshire 
Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90010, Phone: (213) 386 0767; and 1930 
Thoreau Drive, #101, Schaumburg, IL 60173. 
 
Transit 
 
Goods may clear customs with an EU transit procedure that provides for 
the issuance of a single transit document under which the goods may be 
easily shipped across frontiers of the EU member states.  These transit 
documents are completed by the importer for a freight forwarder engaged 
for the purpose.  The transit document provides the basis for a single, 
comprehensive 
procedure covering the goods within the Union.  Since this is an EU 
Procedure, the European importer, customs house broker, freight 
forwarder, or shipper must prepare these documents at point of entry. 
 
      Labeling, Marking Requirements 
 
With only minor exceptions, there are no general requirements for 
marking imported goods with the country of origin.  Requirements for 
specific products should be obtained from the importer.  The import, 
export, or transit of non-Dutch goods having markings which would lead 
one to believe that the goods are of Dutch manufacture or origin is 
prohibited. 
 
There are no regulations for the marking of shipping packages.  Good 
shipping practice dictates that packages should bear the consignee's 
mark and be numbered unless the shipment is such that the content of the 
packages can be readily identified without numbers. 
 
Hallmarking of gold and silver articles is required before they can be 
offered for sale.  Only small tolerances are allowable for manufacturing 
errors.  The hallmarking may done by a Netherlands hallmarking office 
after importation. 
 
Imports of certain commodities, including numerous foodstuffs, are 
subject to special regulations regarding the manner in which they must 
be labeled to show manufacturer, composition, content (in metric units), 
and country of origin.  In view of the complexity of these regulations 
and changing requirements, information should be requested from the 
importer prior to shipment.  When the services of an importer are not 
available, information can be obtained directly from the appropriate 
Dutch authority listed at the end of this publication.  For agricultural 
and food products, U.S. exporters should contact the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture for marketing and labeling information and exporting 
assistance, Phone: (202) 720 9408. 
 
As a member of the EU, the Netherlands applies the product standards and 
certification approval process developed by the Community.  The 
Netherlands is required by the 1958 Treaty of Rome to incorporate in its 
national laws the EU directives. 
 
With the development of a single product standard, U.S. exporters may 
find that it is easier to comply with one EU-wide standard rather than 
having to meet several individual national standards when exporting to 
Europe. 
 
      Prohibited Imports 
 
Certain imports into the Netherlands and the EU are prohibited or 
require an import license.  These products fall under the categories of 
strategic goods or environmentally unfriendly items.  U.S. firms 
exporting to the Netherlands or the rest of the EU can call a customs 
information hotline for a ruling.  From the U.S., Phone: (31) 45 742700. 
 
      Standards 
 
U.S. firms exporting to Europe are still confronted with both national 
and EU product standards.  Further, these regulations occasionally 
change to meet new technology and more stringent demands. 
 
Key product areas are being regulated at the Union level for conformance 
to mandatory requirements to protect the health and safety of consumers, 
as well as the environment.  To indicate this conformance to the 
mandatory requirements, a CE mark must be placed on all regulated 
products by the manufacturer or a representative before they can be sold 
on the EU market.  The applicable product testing and certification 
requirements for individual product categories are specified in the 
various EU directives.  The CE mark relates only to the mandatory 
health, safety, and environmental requirements established by the EU; it 
does not indicate conformity to European product standards.  Thus, 
national marks of conformity with product standards remain compatible 
with the CE mark and both may be applied to the product.  It should be 
noted, however, that the CE mark does replace all national safety marks 
for the regulated products. 
 
The EU Commission has released The Global Approach to Certification and 
Testing, a document that recommended harmonized testing and 
certification procedures within the Union.  These proposals included 
establishing a "modular" system for demonstrating product compliance.  
Under this system, methods of demonstrating product conformity range 
from having the manufacturer self-certify the product to having a 
private testing company type-approve the product and provide market 
surveillance, depending on the probability and type of product risk.  As 
standards and certification requirements are important in international 
trade, it is expected that more U.S. testing laboratories will be able 
to certify that products comply with EU requirements. 
 
Exporters can stay fully informed on the latest EU technical standards 
activities by contacting the National Institute of Standards and 
Technology (NIST).  A part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST 
offers industry an in-depth reference system on EU standards information 
gathered from the two European standards bodies tasked to write the EU 
1992 norms--the European Committee for Standards (CEN) and the European 
Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC). 
 
NIST also can provide updated information from the EU which will 
elaborate on directives and provide assistance in identifying EU and 
member state standards and regulations.  For more information, contact 
NIST, Phone: (301) 975 4038.  To obtain copies of directives, 
amendments, and published updates, or to obtain a complete list of 
directives that could affect product sales to the Netherlands or another 
EU country, call the ITA Office of European Union Affairs, Phone: (202) 
482 5276.  Copies are available at a nominal fee. 
 
Other valuable sources of information with regard to foreign standards 
include the American National Standards Institute, 1430 Broadway, New 
York, NY 10018, Phone: (212) 354 3300, the Department of Commerce's 
National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161, Phone: 
(703) 557 4733, as well as various trade associations that follow 
international activities for their members. 
 
      Free Trade Zones/Warehouses 
 
There are no free trade zones or free ports in the Netherlands in the 
sense of territorial enclaves where commodities can be processed or 
reprocessed tax-free (see part E the Investment Climate Section of this 
report).  However, in a very real sense, the entire country is a free 
trade zone.  American firms find that the numerous private and 
commercial warehouses located throughout the nation perform much the 
same function and with low costs.  Bonded warehouse facilities of any 
size can be arranged with ease.  Shippers can then maintain inventory 
without the payment of customs and value-added tax until the goods are 
needed for use and are then imported.  Products also may be transshipped 
to other countries without technically entering the Dutch customs area.  
With an international distribution and warehouse center serving Western 
Europe, products can arrive at the customer's site quicker and with less 
complaints. 
 
The advantage of the free trade zone to American firms is having a 
European base of supply to assure customers prompt delivery and service, 
and being able to maintain inventory at a low cost. 
 
Adequate warehousing facilities are available in all major Dutch cities.  
In addition to the port areas, Dutch facilities in the east, such as 
Maastricht, Tilburg, Eindhoven, Nijmegen, and Enschede, provide storage 
facilities and distribution services. 
 
The Holland International Distribution Council is a organization 
composed of established Dutch transportation and warehousing firms that 
can help U.S. firms resolve transportation problems, locate facilities, 
and provide technical assistance on distribution networks.  The council 
is composed of firms involved in international shipping that support 
promoting the Netherlands as a distribution center and gateway to 
Europe.  For more details contact: Holland International Distribution 
Council, P.O. Box 85599, 2508 CG The Hague, the Netherlands, Phone: (31) 
70 346 7272; Fax: (31) 70 360 3698. 
 
      Special Import Provisions 
 
Value-Added Tax 
 
The value-added tax, most frequently called by its acronym VAT, is 
charged on the sale of goods and services within the country.  Unlike 
the customs duty, which is the same for all EU member countries, the VAT 
is established by the tax authorities of each country and differs from 
country to country.  At each stage of the manufacturing and distribution 
chain, the seller adds the appropriate amount of VAT (tax on the amount 
of value that the seller added to the product, plus the amount of VAT 
passed on to the seller by the supplier) to the sales price.  The tax is 
always quoted separately on the invoice.  The firm periodically 
subtracts the VAT paid on its purchases of goods and services from the 
VAT collected on sales and remits the balance to the government.  This 
process repeats itself at each stage until the product is sold to the 
final consumer, who bears the full burden of the tax.  Below is a 
summary of the Dutch VAT rates. 
 
*    exempted rate applies to exports. 
 
*    6 percent rate applies to necessities of life such as food, 
medicines, 
     and transportation. 
 
*   17.5 percent rate is the general or standard rate and applies to 
most  
    goods. 
 
For imports into the Netherlands, the VAT is levied at the same rate as 
for domestic products or transactions.  The base on which the VAT is 
charged on imports is the c.i.f. value at the port of entry, plus any 
duty, excise taxes, levies, or other charges (excluding the VAT) 
collected by customs at the time of importation.  This total represents 
the transaction value of the 
import when it clears customs. 
 
The importer is liable for payment of customs duties, VAT, and any other 
charges at the time of clearing the goods through customs.  Exports from 
the Netherlands are exempt from VAT since they are not consumed in the 
country, but will be subject to any tax imposed in the country of 
destination.  Temporary imports that will be reexported are not subject 
to the VAT.  The importer may have to post a temporary bond for the 
amount of customs duty and taxes as security which will be canceled when 
the goods are taken out of the country. 
 
The EU is seeking to harmonize the range of VAT rates among the 15 EU 
member nations.  The EU Council has adopted guidelines for converging 
the VAT rates over an extended transitional period such as seeking to 
establish a minimum VAT rate for most products, lifting border tax 
controls, and defining which products will be allowed an exempted or 
zero VAT rate.  Each country will still retain the collection and 
enforcement authority that currently exists. 
 
      Membership in Free Trade Arrangements 
 
The Netherlands has been a member of the European Union (EU) since its 
inception in 1958.  The other EU members are Belgium, Denmark, France, 
Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, and the 
United Kingdom.  Sweden, Finland, and Austria joined in January 1995.  
Norway voted against joining the Union. 
 
The EU forms a customs union having free trade among the member states, 
but levies a common tariff on imports coming from non-EC countries such 
as the United States, Japan, and Canada.  The EC also has a common 
agricultural policy, joint transportation policy, and free movement of 
goods and capital within the member states.  Other aspects of commercial 
activity are being harmonized as part of the single market program. 
 
Under agreements reached between the EU and the members of the European 
Free Trade Association (EFTA) - duty-free trade for industrial products 
has been achieved among all 18 countries.  Taxes, such as the value-
added tax (VAT) and excise taxes, are levied in the country of final 
destination.  Currently, VAT rates differ among the various countries.  
See the "Value-Added Tax" section for the Dutch rates. 
 
In addition to the EFTA countries, the Netherlands and the other EC 
nations extend preferential tariff treatment to certain other countries 
and territories with historical ties to the EU and to less developed 
countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific regions.  The 
granting of reduced tariffs to developing countries is under the 
Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). 
 
CHAPTER VII.  INVESTMENT CLIMATE 
 
      Openness to Foreign Investment 
 
The Dutch Government maintains liberal policies toward foreign direct 
investment, and adheres to the OECD investment codes, with exceptions 
for its export credit and investment guarantee programs.  Otherwise, 
with the exception of public and private monopolies (military 
production, aviation, shipping, distribution of electricity, gas and 
water, railways and radio and tv broadcasting), foreign firms are able 
to invest in any sector and entitled under the law to equal treatment 
with domestic firms.  The Dutch government has allowed foreign 
participation in the telecommunication sector, but notes that the 
infrastructure for the planned second national network will remain 
Dutch-owned.  Provision of government incentives, rules of 
incorporation, access to the capital market, etc., are all non-
discriminatory, the Dutch actively recruit foreign investment through 
the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA).  
 
The Government and EU give certain regional preferences in the form of 
grants for investment in economically depressed regions of the country.  
These incentives are available to foreign investors on the same terms as 
to Dutch investors.  The areas currently designated for preference are 
in the provinces of Friesland, Groningen and Drenthe and to some extent 
Overijssel and Limburg.  There are no regional restrictions to EU 
subsidies. There are no apparent foreign investment screening 
mechanisms, and 100 percent foreign ownership is permitted in those 
sectors open to foreign private investment.  The rules on acquisition, 
mergers, takeovers, and reinvestments are nondiscriminatory.  All firms 
must conform to certain rules of conduct on mergers and takeovers.  
These are administered by the Socio-Economic Council (SER), an official 
advisory body composed of representatives of business, labor, and 
government.  The rules are intended to protect the interests of 
shareholders and employees.  They include requirements for timely 
announcement of merger and takeover plans and for discussions with trade 
unions.  Despite the de jure open policy, elaborate protective measures 
against hostile takeovers by Dutch companies may de facto block 
acquisitions or takeovers by Dutch and foreign investors.  Since 1993, 
anti-takeover measures have liberalized significantly.  Draft 
legislation to further curtail corporate protective measures is under 
preparation. 
 
The Netherlands maintains no preferential or discriminatory export or 
import policies with the exception of those which result from its 
membership in the European Union.  The Dutch also abide by all 
internationally agreed strategic trade controls. 
 
      Conversion and Transfer Policies 
 
There are no rules on the conversion or repatriation of capital and 
earnings, including profits, interest, royalties, and technical know-how 
fees, with the exception of the nominal exchange license requirement for 
non-resident firms. 
 
      Expropriation and Compensation 
 
The Embassy is unaware of any recent cases involving expropriation of 
foreign-owned property.  Such expropriation would only take place for 
public purposes and we have no reason to believe it would be undertaken 
in a discriminatory manner or in violation of established principles of 
international law.  
 
      Dispute Settlement 
 
We are not aware of any investment dispute involving the Dutch 
government and U.S. or other foreign companies.  The Netherlands is a 
signatory to the International Convention On Investment Disputes and a 
member of the International Center for the Settlement of Investment 
Disputes (ICSID).  Although the central government has no rules 
regarding withdrawals of investment, occasionally trade unions go to 
court over company closures.  This has occurred in the case of both 
domestic and foreign-owned firms.  
 
      Performance Requirements/ Incentives 
 
There are no trade related investment performance requirements in the 
Netherlands.  General requirements to qualify for investment subsidy 
schemes apply equally to domestic and foreign investors. 
   
There are no requirements for employment of local capital or managerial 
personnel.  In practice almost all chief executives of major U.S. 
subsidiaries in the Netherlands are Dutch, but this results from freely 
taken corporate decisions.  In the case of staff personnel, moreover, 
Dutch nationals must be employed unless firms can demonstrate that the 
job in question cannot be performed by a Dutch national.  This burden is 
eased by an existing provision that prior employment with the firm of at 
least two and a half years amounts to a presumption of unique 
qualifications for the job.  
 
Investment incentives are a well-publicized tool of Dutch economic 
policy and are used to facilitate economic restructuring and to promote 
energy conservation, regional development, environmental protection, and 
other national socio-economic goals.  Subsidies and incentives are 
available to foreign and domestic firms alike and are spelled out in 
detailed regulations.  Subsidies are in the form of tax credits which 
are usually disbursed through corporate tax rebates, or direct cash 
payments in the event of no tax liability.  
 
The Investment Premium Regulation (IPR), the only major investment 
incentive still available to investors, seeks to encourage investments 
in parts of the country with a high unemployment rate by giving an 
investment subsidy for new investments (industrial buildings and fixed 
assets).  The IPR currently applies to the economically depressed 
provinces of Groningen, Friesland and Drente in the North, and to part 
of the province of Limburg in the South.   The IPR subsidy applies to 
investments, of which at least 25 percent is investment of the 
investor's own capital.  The growing number of tax incentives offered to 
investors in other EU countries has prompted the government to look into 
the possibilities to expand existing tax instruments to help improve the 
Dutch tax climate.  
 
      Right to Private Ownership and Establishment Protection of 
Property  
      Rights 
 
There are full rights of private ownership and establishment of business 
enterprises in the Netherlands, except in the monopoly sectors as noted 
in the introduction.  Licenses are granted on the basis of competitive 
equality.  
 
Protection of Property Rights:  The Dutch legal system provides adequate 
protection, and facilitates acquisition and disposition of all property 
rights including intellectual property.  Intellectual property 
legislation has been amended to  reflect the EU software directive.  The 
Netherlands belongs to the World Intellectual Property Organization 
(WIPO), it is a signatory of the Paris Convention for the Protection of 
Industrial Property, and conforms to accepted international practices 
for protection of technology and trademarks.  Patents for foreign 
inventions are granted retroactively to the date of original filing in 
the home country, provided the application is made through a Dutch 
patent lawyer within one year of the original filing date.  Patents are 
valid for 20 years.  
 
Legal procedures exist for compulsory licensing if the patent is 
determined to be inadequately used after a period of three years, but 
these procedures have rarely been invoked.  Since the Netherlands and 
the U.S. are both parties to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) of 
1970, patent rights to the Netherlands may be obtained at the time of 
filing in the U.S. if the PCT application is used.  
 
      Regulatory System - Laws and Procedures 
 
Laws and regulations which affect investment, such as environmental 
rules, health and safety regulations, etc., are non-discriminatory and 
apply equally to foreign and domestic firms.  Dutch tax law does affect 
the feasibility of attracting non-Dutch personnel to live and work in 
the Netherlands.  Currently the expatriate temporarily working in the 
Netherlands (or acting as statutory director of a Dutch corporate 
entity, but living abroad)can make use of the 35 percent ruling, which 
provides that 35 percent of his/her gross employment income in the 
Netherlands is not taxable under Dutch personal income tax laws.  This 
treatment is granted for 5 years, with another 5 years possible upon 
application.  Furthermore, the expatriate is considered a non-resident, 
meaning that only income from Dutch sources is taxed in the Netherlands. 
 
The Dutch corporate tax rate (40 percent on taxable profits up to 
100,000 guilders and 35 percent on profits in excess) is among the 
lowest in the EU, second only to the UK.  Effective January 1, 1996, the 
corporate tax rate will be reduced in steps to one general tariff of 35 
percent by 1999.  Dutch corporate taxation generally allows for the 
exemption of dividends and capital gains derived from a foreign 
subsidiary (participation exemption).  Furthermore, the Netherlands 
maintains an extensive network of tax treaties with a large number of 
countries.  The tax treaty with the U.S. has been renegotiated in 1993 
and took effect on January 1, 1994.  Dutch financial markets facilitate 
the free flow of financial resources, are fully developed and operate at 
market rates.  
 
      Bilateral Investment Agreements 
 
The Netherlands has signed bilateral investment agreements 
with a number of countries as follows:  Albania, Argentina, Bolivia, 
Bulgaria, Cameroon, Cape Verde Islands, China, Czech Republic, Slovakia, 
Egypt, Estonia, Ghana, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, 
Jamaica, Kenya, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Morocco, 
Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, 
Senegal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, 
Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, USSR,  Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen Arab 
Republics, Slovakia, Ukraine, Peru and Bangladesh. 
 
The Netherlands adheres to the OECD investment code with the exceptions 
mentioned earlier, and has a treaty of friendship, commerce and 
navigation with the US which generally provides for national treatment 
and free entry for foreign investors with certain exceptions.  The 
Netherlands is also a part of the EU single market. 
 
      OPIC and Other Investment Insurance Programs 
 
The Netherlands has no investment insurance agreements like OPIC's.  
However, Dutch companies investing in developing countries through the 
establishment of subsidiaries or joint ventures, can insure their 
investment against non-commercial risks with the privately-owned 
Netherlands Credit Insurance Company (NCM) under the 1969 Investment 
Reinsurance Act (WHI).  The NCM reinsures its political risks with the 
Ministry of Finance.  This insurance program has not been heavily 
utilized by Dutch investors , however, and efforts are underway to find 
ways of making the program more effective.  
 
According to article 7b of the Investment Reinsurance Act of 1969, 
reinsurance of investment in LDC's can be provided only if a 
satisfactory agreement has been reached with the recipient country 
regarding regulations which will apply to Dutch investment in that 
country and the procedure which will be followed in case of a dispute 
between the investor and the host country on recovery of indemnity 
resulting from the insurance of the investment.  A temporary program 
covering the insurance of investment in all Eastern and Central European 
countries, with the exception of the former Yugoslavia and the Asian 
republics of the CIS, has been introduced in 1991.  Eventually this  
program scheme will be merged with the 1969 Investment Reinsurance Act.  
The Netherlands is a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee 
Agency (MIGA).  
 
      Labor 
 
The Dutch work force is characterized by its high productivity and high 
levels of skill and training.  Labor/management relations in the private 
sector are generally good and days lost to strikes are relatively low.  
The average unemployment level in the Netherlands as measured by the 
OECD statistics was 7.5 percent in 1994.  Workers in most occupational 
categories are readily available, although there has been some 
inflexibility because of reluctance of workers to move or to switch 
occupations.  This immobility was aggravated by past government policies 
which tended to reduce wage differentials across skill groups and to 
reduce the differential between income when not working (e.g. due to 
layoff, disability, sickness, etc.) and when working. 
 
The current government has proposed measures to correct this situation, 
and incentives encouraging labor market flexibility are a matter of 
active political debate.  Nevertheless, labor market rigidities still 
account for a significant portion of unemployment, along with structural 
and cyclical conditions. 
 
Workers may be found through government-operated labor exchanges, a 
rapidly growing number of private employment firms or directly - 
through, for example, newspaper ads.  After an initial period, firing of 
non-contract personnel can be extremely difficult and expensive.  This 
is one of the reasons why a growing number of U.S. subsidiaries in the 
Netherlands is hiring its workforce through private employment firms.  
Although wage bargaining in the Netherlands is increasingly 
decentralized, there still exists a central bargaining apparatus where 
labor contract guidelines are sought.  About 65 percent all Dutch 
private sector workers are covered by union contracts which are 
negotiated on a sectoral basis with employers associations and, if 
accepted by the government, extended by law to the entire sector.  Union 
contracts, for instance, have resulted in an average workweek of 38 
hours. 
 
In recent years, there has been considerable moderation of wage 
increases.  The average contract wage rise agreed in the spring of 1994 
round was 1.8 percent.  This is 1.4 percentage points less than in 1993 
and considerably below wage rises in major neighboring countries.  Trade 
unions largely accept the need to adopt new and improved technology.  
Labor productivity in the Netherlands (for those actually working) is 
among the highest in the EU. 
 
There is substantial labor involvement in corporate decision-making on 
matters affecting workers.  Firms of at least 100 employees are required 
by law to institute Works Councils with which management must consult on 
a range of issues including investment decisions.  Smaller firms are 
also required to consult on a range of issues, though on a less formal 
basis.  Foreign investors should be aware of the legal requirements for 
hiring, firing and the general conduct of labor relations in the 
Netherlands, and plan accordingly. 
 
      Foreign Trade Zones/ Free Ports 
 
There are no free trade zones or free ports in the Netherlands in the 
sense of territorial enclaves where commodities  can be processed or 
reprocessed tax-free.  However, the Netherlands does have an estimated 
500 public and private customs warehouses as described in the EU 
directive 69/75 of March 4, 1969 regarding free zones where goods may be 
subject to handling needed to ensure their preservation or to improve 
packaging or marketing quality.  Imported goods may also be processed or 
re-processed tax-free under the EU inward processing arrangement as 
described in the EU directive.  Foreign firms are able to take full 
advantage of this in-bond transit shipment regime. 
 
      Capital Outflow Policy 
 
Government policy is essentially neutral with regard to capital 
outflows, and firms and individuals are free to invest abroad.  No 
license is required to repay share capital.  This is also true for 
payments made to foreign countries with regard to liquidation 
distributions, interest, royalties, dividends, branch profits, and 
management or technical fees. 
 
The Dutch Government seeks to encourage investment in developing 
countries through the conclusion of bilateral investment treaties 
(described elsewhere), and the provision of reinsurance for political 
risks for Dutch investors in developing countries.  Funds are also 
available to provide loans or operational assistance to firms investing 
in developing countries.  These funds are administered by the Finance 
Company for Developing Countries (FMO), a quasi government bank. 
 
      Foreign Direct Investment Statistics 
 
Foreign direct investments stock in the Netherlands (by country of 
origin and industry sector) and comparable data covering the stock of 
Dutch investment abroad are compiled by the Netherlands Central Bank 
(NB) on an ad hoc basis.  Netherlands' Central Bank investment 
statistics reveal that the total amount of FDI stock in the Netherlands 
at the end of 1992 covered roughly 18 percent of GDP, while FDI flows 
and the end of 1993 amounted to 2.2 percent of GDP. 
 
Foreign direct investment statistics in the Netherlands are based on 
sources of capital inflows and not on actual "by country" investment 
outlays.  Official Economic Ministry statistics based on actual 
investment outlays by country of origin and by industry sector are 
protected for commercial reasons. 
 
During the last decade the number of foreign companies with 
establishments in the Netherlands has grown to over 6,300, employing 
close to 352,000 workers.  Included are 1,680 U.S. companies accounting 
for 123,000 jobs.  In 1994 the number of foreign investment projects 
established though the official foreign investment agency (NFIA) 
totalled 74 worth 661 million guilders (363 million U.S. dollars) and 
created 3,548 new jobs.  More than half (42) were U.S. investments worth 
440 million guilders (242 million U.S. dollars).  There is no compulsory 
registration of foreign investment projects in the Netherlands.  As a 
result the total number of investment projects in 1994  (NFIA projects 
plus non-sponsored projects) is unknown but estimated to be higher than 
the official number. 
 
Foreign companies in the Netherlands account for a quarter of industrial 
production and about 21 percent of employment in industry.  Close to one 
third (29 percent) of foreign establishments in the Netherlands are of 
U.S. origin, with 5 percent Japanese, 51 percent from the EU, and 13 
percent from EFTA countries.  The Economics Ministry is confident that 
investment from the U.S. will increase in the near future.  Special 
efforts are being made to attract investments in the micro-electronics 
field. 
 
      Major Foreign Investors 
 
During the period 1987 through 1993, the Netherlands Foreign Investment 
Agency (NFIA) has been instrumental in the establishment of 187 U.S. 
investment projects in the Netherlands with a total investment value of 
5.3 billion guilders ($2.8 billion).  The most important U.S. investment 
projects arranged by company are as follows:Albany International BV, 
APM-Holland, Caddock Europe BV, Davidson/Marley, Distribution Services 
International, Dow Chemical, Du Pont de Nemours, Engelhard Terneuzen BV, 
Eastman Chemicals, Euramax Castings, General Electric Plastics, Cargil, 
Kelsey Hayes, Memorex-Telex, Morton International, Campbel, Phillip 
Morris Holland BV, Prime Computers, SC Johnson Polymer, Spechem BV, SPX 
Power Team (O.T.C.), Tandem Computers, Vitalink Europe BV, Packard Bel, 
Mobil Chemical Company, Nike, Texas Instruments. 
 
U.S. companies investing in the Netherlands have been expanding strongly 
particularly in the micro-electronics field, value added logistics and 
the establishment of European headquarters.  A striking new trend is 
that various computer manufacturers are looking to the continent of 
Northern Europe to establish an assembly, maintenance and distribution 
center.  According to the NFIA, Packard Bell established such a center 
in Nijmegen in the east creating 500 new jobs.  Other large U.S. 
electronics firms with establishments in the Netherlands are AT&T, Rank 
Xerox, IBM and Honeywell. 
 
During the period 1987 through 1991 the NFIA also attracted 237 non-U.S. 
investment projects valued at 3,3 billion guilders (1.8 billion U.S. 
dollars) including:  British Oxygen Company, British Steel, Ericsson, 
European Patent Office, Fuji Photo, Hoechst Holland, Marley Foam, M&T 
Chemical, Mead, Metallverken, Mita Europe, Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi 
Motors, Mitutoyo, Nissin Food, Nissan, Omron, Outokumpu, Plalloy, Rexham 
UK, Roth Frere, and Supertron. 
 
The top fifteen U.S. investors in the Netherlands- based on the number 
of employees are listed below: 
 
1. Sara Lee/Douwe Egberts N.V. 
P.O. Box 2 
3500 CA Utrecht 
Phone: (31) 30 927311 
Fax: (31) 30 937646 
Manufacturing, sales and marketing of coffee and groceries, and 
household and personal care products. 
 
2. IBM Nederland N.V. 
P.O. Box 9999 
1006 CE  Amsterdam 
Phone: (31) 20 513 3111 
Fax: (31) 20 513 3634 
Development, production, maintenance and sales of word processing, data 
processing and telecommunications equipment and services. 
 
3. Moret Ernst & Young 
G.H. Betzweg 1 
3068 AZ  Rotterdam 
Phone: (31) 10 407 4444 
Fax: (31) 10 455 6440 
Accountants and auditors, tax advisers, and management consultants. 
 
4. Coopers & Lybrand Dijker van Dien 
P.O. Box 94200 
1097 GE  Amsterdam 
Phone: (31) 20 568 6666 
Fax: (21) 20 568 6888 
Accounting and auditing services, tax and management consultancy. 
 
5. AT&T Network Systems International B.V. 
P.O. Box 1168 
1200 BD  Hilversum 
Phone: (31) 35 873111 
Fax: (31) 35 871748 
Telecommunications equipment and systems. 
 
6. Browning-Ferris Industries Europe Inc. 
P.O. Box 2449 
3500 GK Utrecht 
Phone: (31) 30 814111 
Fax: (21) 30 871292 
Solid and liquid waste collection, treatment and disposal to public, 
private and municipal customers. 
 
7. Deloitte & Touche 
P.O. Box 90721 
2509 LS The Hague 
Phone: (31) 70 326 4701 
Fax: (31) 70 324 4482 
Public accountants, tax advisors and related services. 
 
8. Dow Benelux N.V. 
P.O. Box 48 
4530 AA  Terneuzen 
Phone: (31) 1150 71234 
Fax: (31) 1150 72423 
Production of chemicals and plastics. 
 
9. Rank Xerox Manufacturing (Nederland) B.V. 
P.O. Box 43 
5800 MA Venray 
Phone: (31) 4780 25000 
Fax: (31) 4780 88159 
Manufacturing of copying equipment and supplies. 
 
10. General Electric Plastics Europe B.V. 
P.O. Box 117 
4600 AC  Bergen op Zoom 
Phone: (31) 1640 32911 
Fax: (31) 1640 32940 
Manufacturing, sales and marketing of thermoplastic resins. 
 
11. Philip Morris Holland B.V. 
P.O. Box 205 
4600 AE Bergen op Zoom 
Phone: (31) 1640 79911 
Fax: (31) 1640 79335 
Manufacturing, sales and marketing of cigarettes and tobaccos. 
 
12. Honeywell B.V. 
P.O. Box 12683 
1100 AR Amsterdam 
Phone: (31) 20 565 6911 
Fax: (31) 20 565 6600 
Manufacturing and sales of low pressure regulators for gas burners, 
microswitch precision components, control apparatus for heating, 
ventilating, airconditioning controls, instruments and systems for 
process automation, safety controls for steam boilers, hot water boilers 
and special liquid level application and flow switches. 
 
13. Alcoa Nederland Holding 
P.O. Box 21 
5150 BA Drunen 
Phone: (31) 4163 86100 
Fax: (31) 4163 86210 
Manufacturing and sales of aluminum rolling and extrusion and end 
products. 
 
14. Du Pont de Nemours (Nederland) B.V. 
P.O. Box 145 
3300 AC Dordrecht 
Phone: (31) 78 218911 
Fax: (31) 78 163737 
Manufacturing and sales of plastics, synthetic fibers and industrial 
organic chemicals. 
 
15. Esso Nederland B.V. 
P.O. Box 1 
4803 AA Breda 
Phone: (31) 76 291000 
Fax: (31) 76 221177 
Refining,marketing and transportation of crude and petroleum products. 
 
CHAPTER VIII.  TRADE AND PROJECT FINANCING 
 
      Description of Banking System 
 
The sector is dominated by three giant Dutch banks - ABN Amro, Rabo 
Bank, and ING Bank - which have about 75 percent of total lending.   US 
financial services providers in the Netherlands play on a level legal 
field.  The Finance Ministry and Central Bank grant full national 
treatment to foreign banks. 
 
According to the Finance Ministry, Dutch legislation implements all 
existing EU law and regulations on the provision of financial services.  
Banks organized in the Netherlands as branches of a US parent cannot 
benefit from the EU single banking passport and are subject to Dutch 
regulation. 
 
Foreign financial services providers face no special conditions or 
restrictions, and receive full national treatment.  However, one 
provision of the Dutch 1992 Banking  Act does reflect the EU Banking 
Directive's "reciprocity" provision.  The Finance Ministry says this 
section has never been used, and that all applications from non-EU 
parent banks are handled on a national treatment basis. 
 
To locate Dutch banks with correspondent US banking arrangements, 
contact: 
 
The Netherlands Bankers' Association (NVB) 
P.O. Box 3543 
1001 AH Amsterdam 
Phone: (31) 20 550 2888 
Fax: (31) 20 623 9748. 
 
      Foreign Exchange Controls 
 
There are no foreign exchange controls in the Netherlands. 
 
      General Financing Availability 
 
Banking facilities for international transactions available in the 
Netherlands generally meet or exceed US standards. 
 
      How to Finance Exports/Methods of Payment 
 
Financing is provided at market rates by commercial banks and (for a 
small part) by a specialized export financing company -- NV Export 
Financiering Maatschappij, set up by the large commercial banks. 
 
      Types of Available Export Financing and Insurance 
 
The Nederlandsche Credietverzekering Maatschappij NV (NCM), a private 
company owned by the Dutch banks, and a number of insurance and export 
finance companies, provides export credit insurance.  NCM can be 
contacted at: Nederlandsche Credietverzekering Maatschappij NV, 
Keizergracht 271-287, 1016 ED Amsterdam, Phone: (31) 20 553 9111, Fax: 
(31) 20 553 2811. 
 
      Eximbank availability and Existing Eximbank Bundling Facilities 
 
Information on Eximbank programs can be obtained from the marketing 
department, Phone: (202) 566 8860.  Eximbank also has a toll free 
number, Phone: (800) 424 5201, that provides information on its overall 
programs. 
 
      Project Financing Available 
 
Most projects are financed by public and private sector lenders at 
commercial rates. 
 
As a member of the European Union, the Netherlands has access to 
EU-funded programs which provide a wide range of support in the form of 
grants, loans and co-financing for training, feasibility studies, 
infrastructure projects in the environmental, transportation, energy and 
other key sectors.  EU initiatives  are designed to support projects 
within its Member States and the EU-wide "economic integration" projects 
that cross over borders. 
 
EU Structural Funds are available to assist economically depressed 
regions that require industrial restructuring and agricultural 
reconversion.  Tenders for such projects are subject to EU public 
procurement legislation, provided that the tender meets the EU threshold 
requirements.  There are no overt prohibitions against the participation 
of U.S. firms.  From a commercial perspective, these initiatives create 
significant market opportunities for European firms of American 
parentage. 
 
      List of Banks with Correspondent U.S. Banking Arrangements 
 
The Dutch banking sector is dominated by three big Dutch banks: ABN-
Amro, ING, and Rabobank.  Nonetheless,  US and foreign banks are 
represented.  Important banks to contact are: 
 
ABN-Amro Holding NV 
P.O. Box 283 
1000 EA Amsterdam 
Phone: (31) 20 628 9898 
Fax: (31) 20 628 7740 
 
Internationale Nederlanden Bank NV 
P.O. Box 1800 
1000 BV Amsterdam 
Phone: (31) 20 563 9111 
Fax: (31) 20 563 5700 
 
RaboBank Nederland 
P.O. Box 17100 
3500 HG Utrecht 
Phone: (31) 30 909111 
Fax: (31) 30 902672 
 
American Express Bank Ltd 
P.O. Box 10046 
1001 EA Amsterdam 
Phone: (31) 20 540 0111 
Fax: (31) 20 642 2325/642 5705 
 
Citibank NA 
P.O. Box 2055 
1000 CB Amsterdam 
Phone: (31) 20 551 5911 
Fax: (31) 20 551 5234 
 
Foreign Bankers' Association 
P.O. Box 19870 
1000 GW Amsterdam 
Phone: (31) 20 550 2888 
 
CHAPTER IX.  BUSINESS TRAVEL 
 
      Business Customs 
 
The Dutch market is a highly competitive market and the U.S. exporter 
must keep certain factors in mind to achieve maximum success.  The 
"golden keys" of customary business is courtesy, especially replying 
promptly to requests for price quotations and to orders.  These are a 
prerequisite for exporting success.  In general, European business 
executives are more conservative than their American counterparts; 
therefore, it is best to refrain from using their first names until a 
firm relationship has been formed.  Friendship and mutual trust are 
highly valued, and once an American has earned this trust, a productive 
working relationship can usually be counted upon. 
 
Dutch buyers appreciate quality and service and are also interested in 
delivery price.  Care must be taken to assure that delivery dates will 
be closely maintained and that after-sales service will be promptly 
honored.  The Dutch and Europeans in general, are concerned that after 
placing an order with an American suppliers, the delivery date will not 
be honored.  While there are numerous factors that may interfere with 
prompt shipment, the U.S. exporter must allow for additional shipping 
time and keep in close contact with the buyer.  It is much better to 
quote a later delivery date that can be guaranteed than promise an 
earlier delivery that is not completely certain. 
 
U.S. exporters should maintain close liaison with distributors and 
customers to exchange information and ideas.  In most instances, mail, 
fax, or telephone communication is sufficient, but the understanding 
developed through periodic personal visits is the best way to keep 
distributors apprised of new developments and to resolve problems 
quickly.  Prompt acknowledgement of correspondence by airmail or fax is 
recommended. 
 
Further, U.S. exporters should seriously consider warehousing in the 
Netherlands for speedy supply and service of their European customers.  
A vigorous and sustained promotion is often needed to launch products 
because of buying habits.  Products must be adapted to both technical 
requirements and to consumer preferences.  It is not sufficient to 
merely label a product in conformity to national requirements for the 
development of the full market potential.  Consumers must also be 
attracted to the product by label and packaging as well as ease of use. 
 
      Travel Advisory and Visas 
 
Every U.S. traveler must have a valid passport.  No visa is required for 
U.S. citizens visiting the Netherlands for less than 3 months, but one 
is required for longer periods.  An American citizen entering the 
Netherlands for permanent residence must register as soon as possible 
after entering the country.  U.S. citizens planning to work in the 
country must first obtain a work permit.  The permit is must be 
presented to immigration upon arrival.  Such permits must be obtained by 
the Dutch employer and are usually granted only for specialized work.  
Management and skilled workers have no difficulty in obtaining work 
permits. 
 
      Holidays 
 
The dates below are the official statutory holidays when most commercial 
offices and banks are closed.  Certain other days are celebrated as 
holidays within local jurisdictions.  American holidays are observed by 
the U.S. Embassy and Consulate General and should be considered when 
telephoning or visiting the Commercial Service staff. 
 
New Year's Day          January 1 
Good Friday             April 5 
Easter Monday           April 8 
Ascension Day           May 16 
Whitmonday              May 27 
Christmas Day           December 25 
Second Christmas Day    December 26 
 
      Business Infrastructure 
 
Language Communication 
 
English usually can be used in commercial correspondence.  However, not 
all Dutch understand English and for retail products it is essential to 
provide advertising, labeling, and use instructions in Dutch.  If such 
literature cannot be  provided, the U.S. exporter should work with the 
Dutch importer or distributor to have the products labeled in the 
Netherlands. 
 
While language barriers pose no problems, some expressions and terms may 
have different meanings from those in the United States.  To assure 
better understanding, it is well to define unfamiliar terms in 
commercial activities.  By reference and the use of INCOTERMS in an 
agreement, both parties will be using the established international set 
of commercial terms which helps to reduce possible misunderstandings and 
promotes fair dealing. 
 
Housing 
 
Housing is often difficult to find and rents vary widely.  Family 
housing of a size to which Americans are accustomed will be expensive in 
or near the larger cities.  In many area, furnished quarters are easier 
to find than unfurnished quarters.  The term "unfurnished" must be taken 
literally.  The tenant often must provide electric fixtures, stove, 
refrigerator, water heater, wardrobes, etc.  Usually, the owner accepts 
responsibility only for exterior repairs;  interior maintenance and 
repairs are usually at the tenant's expense.  It might be necessary to 
engage a real estate agent (makelaar), although their fees are high.  A 
municipal housing permit is required to occupy certain houses and 
apartments;  the landlord can advise you on this.  Be aware that a 
verbal commitment can be considered a legally binding contract here. 
 
Transportation 
 
Rental automobiles are available at numerous locations.  An 
international or state driving license is acceptable.  Cars are driven 
on the right-hand side of the road.  The national roads and highways are 
excellent.  Newcomers may find driving in town a little disconcerting 
because of the many cyclists who often make unexpected turns or must be 
passed at close range.  Some city streets have special bicycle paths.  
Right-of-way is that of the vehicle entering from the right unless the 
vehicle is coming out of a driveway.  Roads posted with orange diamonds 
do not have to yield the right-of-way.  The speed limit in the cities is 
30 miles (50 Km) per hour and on highways about 70 miles (120 Km) per 
hour. 
 
Most cities in the Netherlands have good public transportation systems 
(e.g. trains, buses, streetcars).  The prices are reasonable.  Taxis are 
available everywhere and the fare is comparable with other European 
cities. 
 
Health 
 
Medical services are excellent and hospitals compare with those in the 
United States.  Common medical needs are readily obtained, and special 
supplies are normally available on short notice.  An international 
certificate of vaccination is not required for travelers from the United 
States.  Drinking water is excellent, most pharmaceuticals are 
available, and sanitation is at American standards. 
 
Currency 
 
The basic monetary unit is the Dutch guilder or florin (usually 
indicated as Dfl. Nfl. or as f).  The guilder is issued in paper notes 
of Dfl. 1,000, 250, 100, 50, 25 and 10.  Coins are issued in units of 
Dfl.5, Dfl.2,50, Dfl.1,00, 25c, 10c and 5c.  Current value 1 USD= 
Dfl.1.57. 
 
Other Information 
 
With the ease of telephone communications, international calls are 
frequently the best method of arranging appointments and maintaining 
solid commercial relations.  The Dutch are usually adept at handling 
business calls in English, but the American executive must be prepared 
to expect some language problems.  The time zone for the Netherlands is 
Greenwich mean time +1 or 6 hours ahead of the U.S. eastern standard 
time (EST + 6 hours).  Fax machines have increased the speed and ease of 
international communications and should be used to maintain strong 
business ties. 
 
The electric current is alternating current, 50 cycle, 220 volts.  
American appliances, such as electric shavers or hair dryers, do not 
work and will be damaged if used without a converter. 
 
Conservative business attire is recommended at all times.  Business 
appointments are also required and visitors are expected to be punctual. 
 
CHAPTER X.  APPENDICES 
 
      Appendix A - Country Data 
 
1.    Profile 
 
A.    Population:                   15.3 million 
B.    Religions:                    Roman Catholic and Protestant 
C.    Government:                   Constitutional Monarchy with 
                                          Parliament 
                                          Head of State:  Queen Beatrix 
                                          Head of Government:  Prime 
                                          Minister Wim Kok 
D.   Language:                            Dutch, English frequently used 
                                          in business 
E.   Last election:                       May 1994 
 
     Appendix B - Domestic Economy 
 
                                   1993      1994       1995 
A.    GDP (current $b)            308.8      29.8      382.6 
B.    Real GDP Growth Rate (%)     +0.4      +2.5      +3.25 
C.    GDP Per Capita ($)          20316      21556     24846 
D.	Govt. Spending (% of GDP)     60.3       58.8      56.0 
E.	Inflation (% change in CPI)    2.6        2.7      1.75 
F.	Unemployment (%)               7.5        8.5       8.5 
G.	Foreign Exch. Reserves ($b)   40.4       40.8      44.1 
	(including gold) 
H.	H. Av. Ann. Exch. Rate        1.86       1.82      1.65 
	($1 = Guilder) 
I.	Mfg. Hourly Wage Rate          3.3       1.7        0.4 
	(% change) 
J.	Ind. Production (% c           0.3       3.1        3.5 
 
      Appendix C - Trade 
 
                                    1993     1994     1995 
A.   Total Exports (f.o.b./$b)     156.3    170.0    198.3 
B.   Total Imports (c.i.f./$b)     140.8    152.6    172.5 
C.   U.S. Exports (f.a.s./$b)       12.8     13.6     14.0 
D.   U.S. Imports (customs/$b)       5.4      5.0      5.0 
 
E.   Main U.S. exports to Netherlands:  Machinery and transport  
     equipment; agricultural commodities; chemicals; computers;  
     electronic equipment. 
 
F.   Main U.S. imports from Netherlands:  Food and live animals; beer;  
     chemicals; office machines; petroleum products. 
 
G.   Foreign supplier share of Dutch imports (percent) 
 
                                 1993        1994       1995 
1.    Germany                    23.5        22.8       N/A 
2.    Belgium/Luxembou           11.7        11.5       N/A 
3.    United Kingdom              9.6         9.2       N/A 
4.    United States               8.0         8.1       N/A 
5.    France                      7.5         7.6       N/A 
6.    Japan                       3.8         3.6       N/A 
 
H.    Balance of Payments ($b)  +10.2       +12.9     +14.7 
 
I.    Trade balances with leading trading partners ($m) 
1.  Germany                   +10745    +11423    N/A 
2.  Belgium/Luxembourg        + 2828    + 3802    N/A 
3.  United States             - 4485    - 5164    N/A 
4.  United Kingdom             + 978    + 1655    N/A 
5.  France                    + 5303    + 5351    N/A 
6.  Japan                     - 3531    - 3357    N/A 
 
J.   Import Policy: 
1.   Tariffs and Taxes:  Most tariffs on products from the U.S. are in 
the 5 to 8 percent range.  Industrial products from the European Union 
(EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries enter the 
Netherlands duty-free.  A 17.5 percent value added tax (VAT) is applied 
to most imported and domestic goods. 
2.   Licensing:  Except for agricultural products and minerals, few 
items are subject to import licensing. 
 
K.   Best U.S. Export Prospects:  data processing and other business 
equipment, telecommunications, medical and scientific instrumentation, 
pollution control equipment. 
 
     Appendix D - Investment Statistics 
 
A.   Foreign Ownership Restrictions:  None.  U.S. investments welcome. 
B.   U.S. Direct Investment in the 
     Netherlands:  (end-1994)       $24 billion 
C.   U.S. Share of Foreign Investment:   37 percent 
D.   Principal Foreign Investors:    U.S., Germany, UK 
E.   Dutch Direct Investment in the 
     United States:  (end-1994)       $70 billion 
F.   Major U.S. Investors in the 
     Netherlands:                  Dow Chemical, Du Pont de 
                                     Nemours, Eastman 
                                     Chemicals, General 
                                     Electric Plastics, 
                                     Cargil, Philip Morris, 
                                     Packard Bell, Mobil 
                                     Chemical Co. 
 
     Appendix E - US and Country Contacts 
 
For information on government agencies, trade associations and local 
chambers of commerce, interested companies should contact U.S. Embassy 
or Consulate personnel at the numbers listed below. 
 
U.S. EMBASSY TRADE RELATED CONTACTS 
 
Dr. Rafael Fermoselle 
Counselor for Commercial Affairs 
The Commercial Service 
American Embassy 
Lange Voorhout 102 
2514 EJ The Hague 
Phone: (31) 70 310 9417 
Fax: (31) 70 363 2985 
 
Linda Archer 
Commercial Attaché 
The Commercial Service 
American Embassy 
Lange Voorhout 102 
2514 EJ The Hague 
Phone: (31) 70 310 9417 
Fax: (31) 70 363 2985 
 
Principal Commercial Officer 
The Commercial Service 
American Consulate General 
Museumplein 19 
1071 DJ Amsterdam 
Phone: (31) 20 575 5351 
Fax: (31) 20 575 5350 
 
American Trade and Tourism Information Center (ATTIC) 
Beurs World Trade Center 
Beursplein 37, Room 324 
P.O. Box 30123 
3001 DC Rotterdam 
Phone: (31) 10 405 3424 
Fax: (31) 10 405 5104 
 
Steven Yoder 
Counselor for Agricultural Affairs 
American Embassy, The Hague 
PSC 71, Box 1000 
APO AE 09715 
Phone: (31) 70 310 9209 
Fax: (31) 70 365 7681 
 
The American Chamber of Commerce 
Burg. van Karnebeeklaan 14 
2582 BB The Hague 
Phone: (31) 70 365 9808 
Fax: (31) 70 379 6322 
 
Holland International Distribution Council 
P.O. Box 85599 
2508 CG The Hague 
Phone: (31) 70 346 7272 
Fax: (31) 70 360 3698 
 
COUNTRY TRADE OR INDUSTRIAL ASSOCIATIONS IN KEY SECTORS 
 
VIFKA 
P.O. Box 220 
3454 ZL De Meern 
Phone: (31) 3406 21515 
Fax: (31) 3406 21717 
Trade association for office, information and (tele) communication 
industries. 
 
Het Instrument 
P.O. Box 152 
3760 AD Soest 
Phone: (31) 2155 18204 
Fax: (31) 2155 23739 
Trade association for suppliers of instrumentation for industrial 
electronics, automation, laboratories and medical technology. 
 
FARON/FME 
Netherlands Association of Manufacturers of Electronic Equipment 
P.O. Box 190 
2700 AD Zoetermeer 
Phone: (31) 79 531355 
Fax: (31) 79 531365 
 
FENIT - Federatie Nederlandse Informatie Technologie 
P.O. Box 11760 
1402 AT The Hague 
Phone: (31) 70 385 7171 
Fax: (31) 70 383 6931 
 
VLM 
Postbus 190 
2700 AD Zoetermeer 
Phone: (31) 79 531323 
Fax: (31) 79 531365 
(Association of Dutch manufacturers of pollution control 
Equipment) 
 
COUNTRY GOVERNMENT OFFICES RELATING TO KEY SECTORS 
 
Ministry of Economic Affairs 
P.O. Box 20101 
2500 EC The Hague 
Phone: (31) 70 379 7169 
Fax: (31) 70 379 8074 
 
Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management 
and Fisheries 
P.O. Box 20401 
2500 EK The Hague 
 
Ministry of Transport 
P.O. Box 20901 
2500 EX The Hague 
Phone: (31) 70 351 7586 
Fax:  (31) 70 351 7751 
 
Ministry of Health, Welfare and Cultural Affairs 
Sir Winston Churchilllaan 362 
2280 HK Rijswijk 
Phone: (31) 70 340 6241 
Fax: (31) 70 340 7159 
 
Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning and Environment 
P.O. Box 30945 
2500 GX The Hague 
Fax: (31) 70 339 1280 
Phone: (31) 70 339 4546 
 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment 
P.O. Box 90804 
2509 LV The Hague 
Fax: (31) 70 333 4033 
Phone: (31) 70 333 4455 
 
Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) 
P.O. Box 20101 
2500 EC The Hague 
Phone: (31) 70 379 8818 
Fax: (31) 70 379 6322 
 
Netherlands Customs 
P.O. Box 4486 
6401 CZ Heerlen 
Phone: (31) 45 742700 
Fax: (31) 45 716415 
 
COUNTRY MARKET RESEARCH FIRMS 
 
To locate market research firms in the Netherlands contact: 
The Netherlands Association of Market Research Firms (NVVM) 
Hogehilweg 8 
1101 CC  Amsterdam Z.O. 
Phone: (31) 20 697 6951 
Fax: (31) 20 691 0433 
 
COUNTRY COMMERCIAL BANKS 
 
To locate Dutch banks contact: 
 
The Netherlands Bankers' Association (NVB) 
P.O. Box 19780 
1000 GW Amsterdam 
Phone:  (31) 20 550 2888 
Fax:  (31) 20 623 9748 
 
WASHINGTON-BASED USG COUNTRY CONTRACTS 
 
Elena Mikalis 
Netherlands Desk Officer 
U.S. Department of Commerce/ITA 
Room 3042 
14th & Constitution Avenue, N.W. 
Washington, D.C. 20230 
Phone: (202) 482 6008 
Fax: (202) 482 2897 
 
TPCC Trade Information Center 
Phone: 1-800-USA-TRADE 
 
U.S. Department of Agriculture 
Foreign Agricultural Service 
Trade Assistance and Promotion Office 
Phone: (202) 720 7420 
 
American State Offices in the Netherlands: 
 
Indiana 
World Trade Center 
Strawinskylaan 305 
1077 XX Amsterdam 
 
Louisiana 
Overasebaan 22 
4891 RG Rijsbergen/Breda 
Phone: (31) 1606 4160 
Fax: (31) 1606 4170 
Director:  Mr. Hans Kalkman 
 
     Appendix F - Market Research 
 
A complete list of all market research reports is available on the NTDB.  
The following industry subsector analyses covering the Netherlands are 
available on the NTDB: 
 
1.   Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Market in the Netherlands 
2.   Domestic Electrical Appliances Market 
3.   Contract Catering  
4.   Food Processing and Packaging  
5.   Golf 
6.   Optical Storage Devices and Software for Computers 
7.   Selling to the Dutch Telecommunications Operating Company 
8.   Water Pollution Controls 
9.   Electrical Generating 
10.  Traffic Control Equipment Market 
11.  Mobile Computing Hardware and Software  
12.  Aircraft Construction  
 
Scheduled Industry Subsector Analyses 1995/96: 
 
1.   Mobile and Cellular Communications 
2.   Aircraft and Parts 
3.   Direct Marketing 
4.  Personal Computers 
5.   Computer Services 
6.   Diagnostic Equipment 
7.   Cosmetics 
8.   Sports and Leisurewear 
9.   Air Pollution Controls 
10.  Business Travel 
 
Scheduled Reports 1995/96: (Foreign Agriculture Service) 
 
Report                                            Type 
Commodity Report on Sugar                         Semi-annual  
Commodity Report on Frozen French Fries         Annual 
Trade Leads Report                              Annual 
Commodity Report on Poultry                      Semi- 
annual 
Commodity Report on Dairy                       Annual 
Commodity Reports on Forest products            Annual 
Report on Wine Marketing                        Annual 
Commodity Report on Citrus                      Annual 
Report on Fresh Deciduous Fruit                  Semi- 
annual 
Commodity Report on Kiwi Fruit                  Annual 
Commodity Report on Grain and Feeds             Annual 
Commodity Report on Livestock                    Semi- 
annual 
Report on Seafood                                Semi- 
annual 
Commodity Report on Sugar                       Annual 
Report on Dairy Products                         Semi- 
annual 
Report on Contract Catering                       Annual 
Commodity Reports on Oilseeds and Poultry         Annual 
Marketing Plan Information Report                 Annual 
Commodity Reports on Livestock and Seeds          Annual 
Commodity Report on Seafood and Deciduous Fruit   Annual 
Report on Dutch Agricultural Situation            Annual 
 
      Appendix G - Trade Event Schedule 
 
Foreign Buyer Program:  The Commercial Service in the Netherlands plans 
to promote foreign buyer attendance to all the domestic U.S trade shows 
designated under the Foreign Buyer Program.  Where possible, a member of 
the Commercial Service or one of the other agencies will escort the 
buyers' groups and use the occasion to address exporters and recruit 
U.S. exhibitors for Dutch and European trade shows.  The events are: 
 
1995 Commercial Service Events: 
 
Date           Title                        Type  Sector 
 
Sep.  7-10     IMTEC '95, Chicago           PIP   Marine Equip. 
 
Sep.  12-15    Bobbin Show, Atlanta         PIP   Sewn products 
 
Oct.  19-25    Furniture Fair, High Point   PIP   Furniture 
 
Oct.  23-27    AAIW '95, Las Vegas          PIP   Automotive 
 
Nov. 4-8       Megashow, Chicago            FBP   Food and Dairy 
 
Nov.  8-10     World Energy, Atlanta        FBP   Engineering 
 
Nov.  13-17    COMDEX fall                  FBP   Computers 
 
Nov. 15-18     NHHCE, Atlanta               FBP   Medical 
 
Nov. 24-29     NY Dental, New York          FBP   Dental 
 
Dec. 5-7       Power-Gen Americas '95       FBP   Energy 
 
1996 Commercial Service Events: 
 
Jan.  17-21     World of Concrete, Las Vegas  PIP   Building 
 
Jan. 26-29      Builder's Show, Houston      FBP    Building 
 
Jan. 30-Feb 2   Magic, Las Vegas             FBP    Apparel  
 
Feb. 13-15     Farm Equipment, Tulare, CA   FBP  Agriculture 
 
Feb. 16-19     Toy Fair, New York           FBP        Toys  
 
Feb.  20-23    DIS '96, Utrecht             TFO    Computers 
 
March 4-7      PITTCON, Chicago             FBP   Lab   Instruments 
 
March 8-10     Franchise Expo, DC           FBP  Franchising 
 
March 20-24    CONEXPO/ConnAgg, Las Vegas   FBP     Building 
 
April 1-4      Intertraffic '96, Amsterdam  TFO     Traffic Control 
 
April 1-3      Intermedia, San Francisco    FBP        Media 
 
April 2-4      Networld & Interop, Las Vegas  FBP   Showcase 
 
May 6-9        Offshore Technology, Houston   FBP   Offshore 
 
May 20-24      WASTE EXPO, Las Vegas   FBP     Environmental 
 
June 1-4       Fashion Boutique, New York    FBP     Apparel 
 
June 3-6       COMDEX/Spring, Chicago        FBP    Computer 
 
June 5-7       Hazmat, Philadelphia          FBP    Environmental 
 
June 24-27     Supercomm, Dallas             FBP        Computers 
 
Sep. 9-12      Minexpo, Las Vegas            FBP        Mining 
 
Sep. 15-20     IEEE/PE, Los Angeles          FBP      Power 
 
Sep. 26-28     PCIA, San Francisco      FBP    Communication 
 
Explanation of Acronyms 
 
FBP  FOREIGN BUYER PROGRAM 
PIP  POST INITIATED EVENT 
FAS  FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE 
TFO  TRADE FAIR OVERSEAS-ORGANIZED 
 
Foreign Agricultural Service Events: 
 
Date                Title 
 
Oct., 1995          SIAL, Paris, France 
 
Jan., 1996          Horecava, Amsterdam 
 
May., 1996       U.S. Food Export Show Case, FMI in Chicago. 
 
Throughout 1996 
 
Continued promotion of U.S. food and beverages through the Market 
Promotion Project. Organize and assist with menu promotions at hotels 
and restaurants throughout the country. 
 
As part of the Show Case Europe "Euroaccess" program, following is a 
listing of 1995 and 1996 trade events located in either Belgium or the 
Netherlands, which will be jointly promoted and recruited by the two 
posts.  Wherever the event is held, an Commercial Service specialist 
from the other country will attend the show and advise the American 
participants on the rest of the Benelux market.  In addition, the non-
host Commercial Service post will be prepared to conduct services for 
the participants after or before the actual trade event.  In other 
words, a U.S. company participating in the telecommunications TMAB event 
in Brussels in May 1995, could schedule a gold key or scp etc., with the 
Commercial Service in The Hague to follow right after or before the 
Brussels-based event.  In this way, a company could once again explore 
both markets on one visit, participating in a trade event in one country 
and following-up with another market penetration service in the other 
country.  Because trade event schedules may change, firms should consult 
the export promotion calendar on the NTDB or contact the Commercial 
Service for the latest information. 
 
-Geneva International Telecommunications Exhibition (TELECOM) October 2-
10, 1995 
Exhibition of telecommunication systems, equipment, and networks for 
public and private telecommunications. 
 
-CeBIT '95, Hannover, Germany 
March 20-27, 1996 
Telecommunications, Networks, Connectivity, Banking, Data 
Communications, Software, Hardware, Peripherals, etc 
 
-THE MARCH EUROBENEFIT:  The March EUROBENEFIT is a unique horizontal 
matchmaker taking place in MARCH, 1996, in Amsterdam and Brussels.  Each 
participant will have two days of meetings with specific end users 
and/or distributors interested in the company's product/service. 
 
-THE TMAB TELECOMMUNICATIONS SHOW:  Taking place during May, 1996 in 
Brussels, the TMAB show is the only show in Belgium dedicated to the 
telecommunications field.  The Commercial Service in Brussels is 
organizing a U.S. pavilion for ten-twelve U.S. companies, which will not 
only be part of this major exhibition but which will also have specific 
one-on-one appointments with potential representatives. 
 
-INTERCLEAN:  The most important exhibition for cleaning equipment and 
supplies in the Benelux takes place in Amsterdam, May 7-11, 1996.  
During the last show two years ago, the U.S. pavilion featured 45 
american companies. 
 
-Farnborough International Aerospace Exhibition, Farnborough, UK 
September, 1996 
Aerospace 
                                        July 7, 1995 
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