“The real trouble with reality is that there’s no background music. ”
Looking to expand business and grow through exports means looking toward the Netherlands. The northern European country wants to see more trade to and from Arizona.
Hugo G. von Meijenfeldt, the Netherlands’ general consul, was in Arizona recently talking to economic developers and interested businesses about opportunities to and from Holland.
“We are the largest port on the European continent,” he said. “We have been since 1602.”
The Dutch chartered the first multinational corporation in the world that year, Dutch East Indian Co., and today, many Dutch multinational companies are household names. Philips, Royal Dutch Shell, ASM and NXP are a few already doing business in Arizona.
Less a household name, but an important addition to the Arizona economy, was Scottsdale landing Stealth Technologies’ North American headquarters.
Arizona trade carries a level of importance that the country appointed Siebe K.J. van der Zee its honorary consul, and assigned him to a Scottsdale office near Pima Road and Via de Ventura.
The office has a mission to promote bilateral trade between Arizona and the Netherlands. Shipping directly into the Eurozone allows free movement of trade without customs between other European Union countries.
“Arizona is falling behind,” said von Meijenfeldt. “There is huge potential in this state, and we believe we can and will help develop those opportunities.”
He said most Dutch investors think only of the coasts when thinking of the U.S. He’s working to change that.
“Just as we are helping them see the potential for development in the hinterlands of the (Netherlands), we want them to look at inland U.S,” he said.
Von Meijenfeldt said that most Dutch citizens speak four and even five languages, making the country a good place for Arizona exporters to do business.
“We save companies transshipment costs of moving products from Great Britain across the North Sea,” he added.
The biggest trade opportunities he sees are in technology, life science and renewable energy.
“We want to see more Dutch (research and development) taking place in Arizona,” he said. “There are great entrepreneurial opportunities for interested companies.”
The general consul is responsible for 13 western states, but he sees “important opportunities” in Arizona. The door to the EU is through the Netherlands, he said.
Eric covers economic development, banking and finance, infrastructure, transportation and utilities.
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