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New website helps firms study European locations for branch plants

Dutch agency launches ''

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

NEW YORK - As part of a broad marketing effort targeting small-to-midsize North American companies considering their initial investment in Europe, the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) has launched an interactive website. This site, is designed to help foreign companies establish operations on the continent.

NFIA has learned that most American exporters belong to the small to midsize category and wants to help them set up shop in Europe and help them grow. The Dutch agency also wants them to make the right decision on location the first time around.

Rather than promoting a specific location, the website helps firms develop a long-term strategy for success by presenting objective country information compiled by a leading independent European location adviser. Site visitors can compare up to 17 locations throughout Europe based on factors such as cost of labour, real estate prices, availability of qualified staff, information on distances to markets, business environment, accessibility, and quality of life. By weighing each of these criteria to the firmís particular needs and circumstances, the user can generate comparative rankings. The cost and benefit analysis can be generated for businesses interested in setting up either a sales and marketing location or a logistics and distribution operation.

Case studies

For website visitors seeking additional information on the Netherlands, the site includes extensive information on the countryís key advantages, an overview of various Dutch geographical regions, case studies of successful U.S. companies that have set up branches in the Netherlands, and a thorough question-and-answer section on key business subjects potentially confronting entrepreneurs on locating in Europe for the first time.

NFIA facilitates direct investments of foreign companies in the Netherlands through its network of offices in North America, China, Japan, Taiwan and Korea, as well as the United Kingdom. Hundreds of foreign companies started or expanded operations in the Netherlands with the help of the agency. In all, more than 5,300 foreign firms set up operations in the Netherlands, together employing almost 550,000 people.

NFIA is a division of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. As a government agency, it provides information and practical assistance free of charge. All its services are provided on a confidential basis and include data for site selection and logistics strategies; intensive and personal guidance on such matters as permit procedures, labour issues and tax structures. NFIA has U.S. offices in New York City, Boston, Chicago, San Mateo and Atlanta.