Headed by Menno Goedhart, Netherlands Trade & Investment Office (NTIO) in Taiwan plays an important role to firm up commercial ties between the Netherlands and Taiwan. NTIO comprises three sections of Education, Trade and Agricultural & Food, and the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, with a staff of 19 people. "Basically, NTIO is an office focused on the trade and investment relations between the Netherlands and Taiwan. And further, we also pull out all the stops to speed up the bilateral exchanges of education and culture for two sides," the Representative of NTIO, Mr. Goedhart talks about the primary function of the Office.
NTIO prompts Dutch investments to Taiwan as well as Taiwanese investments in the Netherlands. Being a non-profit organization, the Office answers trade inquiries free of charge unless these inquiries would in fact necessitate a market survey. NTIO handles both inquiries concerning industry (i.e. services and manufacturing) and concerning agriculture. "Taiwanese companies approaching our office with trade enquiries are provided with extensive information on Dutch companies, products and trade fairs. We also assist them with mediation in trade disputes and other communication problems. Taiwanese exporters requiring further assistance are welcome to contact our trade section," Mr. Goedahrt says.
Due to the complete dedication of NTIO to trade, the exports between the two countries have been on the increase. "We started with a great base, and continued to work successfully. Dutch exports to Taiwan increased by 60% for last year and it's about $2 billion Euro in total. And Taiwanese exports to Holland also increased by 20%. Therefore, Taiwan is a significant partner to the Netherlands," the Representative points out. He continues to stress, "In the aspect of investment, the performance has been also great. We have ten more Taiwanese companies investing in the Netherlands last year, and we still have several projects in process already. Moreover, through cooperation, many smaller-size Dutch companies partnership with Taiwanese counterparts to build their business in Taiwan. It's very productive."
The Netherlands, long Europe's trading crossroads, is an obvious choice when it comes to finding the best place to locate a pan-European business for Taiwanese companies, according to the head of NTIO. There are five reasons to invest in the Netherlands:
Strategic location in Europe -- The Netherlands provides a strategic location to serve markets within the current and future European Union, the Middle East and Africa.
Excellent business environment -- The global business environment rankings, published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), has rated the Netherlands number two worldwide (behind Canada) for its overall business environment.
Superior logistics and technology infrastructure -- The Port of Rotterdam is the world's largest seaport, and Schiphol Airport is recognized as one of the major business hubs in Europe and has claimed over 100 international awards over the last couple of decades.
Highly educated, multilingual and flexible workforce -- The Netherlands features one of the most highly educated, flexible and motivated workforces in Europe.
Quality of life -- The Netherlands is proud to have a high standard of living, while maintaining an affordable life for its residents. The costs of living, housing, education and cultural activities are lower than in most Western-European countries.
In the sector of education, NTIO acts as an intermediary between on the one hand Taiwanese university students who want to study in the Netherlands and on the other hand Nuffic and individual Dutch universities. Mr. Goedhart strongly recommends Holland as an ideal destination for students who are interested in studying abroad. "The Netherlands' higher education institutions conduct more than 600 of their study programs in English for the benefit of international students. No other non-English-speaking country in the world offers such a large and varied range of possibilities," he says.
"A steady growth in the educational exchanges can be seen through all these years' efforts. Plenty of schools in the two countries are making educational exchanges through increasing cooperation. Universities set up combining programs, so students can study partly in the Netherlands, and partly in Taiwan," Mr. Goedhart adds. It used to take long for Taiwanese students to get a Dutch visa, however, the Representative solved the problem, so a student visa can be received for only two and a half day.
Talking about the Office's goals, Mr. Goedhart says, " we aims to reinforce the bilateral relations with a wide range of links, particularly in commercial, education and cultural fields, and all our staff are very devoted to this task."
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