Dutch official: Netherlands, Israel ‘good for each other’Jun. 14, 2012
Though the population of the Netherlands is only a modest 16 million, Holland is nonetheless one of Israel’s two largest trading partners in Europe, and the Dutch appear to be looking for even more Israeli connections. That’s one of the reasons why over 60 business officials from the country came to Israel this week, accompanying Maxime Verhagen, the Dutch Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation. The companies represented included those in a wide variety of fields, including agriculture and food, water, energy (including clean tech and gas), high-tech, and other areas where trade between the two countries is booming.
One way the Dutch government hopes to attract more Israeli partners is by opening offices dedicated to encouraging those relationships. On his visit here, Verhagen officially opened the local offices of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) and the Netherlands Office for Science and Technology (NOST) . Directing the NOST office’s efforts to attract tech companies to joint research and development projects with Dutch groups will be Paul Jansen, whose official title is Innovation Advisor at the Economic Section of the Netherlands Embassy in Tel Aviv.
There are numerous large Israeli companies with a significant presence in Holland — the pharmaceutical giant Teva, for example, has a large facility there — and a surprising number of Israeli start-ups working in the country as well, Jansen said. Holland’s economic policy, he said, is generally geared to encouraging its top-tier industries, such as agriculture and food, water, energy, life-science, high-tech, and so on. Many Israeli start-ups have been developing innovations in these areas, and Jansen said that corporate executives in his country are anxious to cooperate on these innovations for the benefit of both countries.
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