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Dutch minister to open investment agency in Istanbul

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 10/11/2009 12:00:00 AM | BARÇIN YİNANÇ

Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade Frank Heemskerk will visit Turkey in a show of confidence in the country's economic future.

Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade Frank Heemskerk will visit Turkey this week in a show of confidence in the country's economic future, said Onno Kervers the consul general of the Netherlands in Istanbul.

Accompanied with executives from nearly 50 Dutch companies, Heemskerk will open the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency in Istanbul, Kervers told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Saturday.

As one-third of Turkish investments abroad go to the Netherlands, Dutch authorities decided to open an agency in the economic heart of Turkey to assist Turkish companies that wish to invest in the Netherlands. Kervers said there has been great interest from Turkish companies to invest in the Netherlands. One of the reasons behind this interest is the fact that Netherlands is a “business-oriented and open society,” he said, adding that the Netherlands has a favorable tax climate, with corporate tax levels lower compared to other countries.

The existence of an agreement to avoid double taxation between the two countries and the presence of the Turkish community also play a role in the increase of Turkish investment in the country, according to Kervers.

The Turkish community of 400,000 now includes a third generation with a high level of education, which is an asset for Turkish companies to establish their business in the Netherlands, he said. “Turks that have been raised in the Netherlands speak three languages: Turkish, Dutch and English. They know both sides. The availability of a Turkish background helps Turkish investors. Actually more and more Dutch companies employ Turks that have lived in the Netherlands in their offices in Turkey,” said Kervers. Turkish investments in the country concentrate largely in the financial, petrochemical and electronics sectors.

Besides inaugurating the Foreign Investment Agency in Istanbul on Monday, Heemskerk will also visit the port in Tuzla, near Istanbul. He will then go to Ankara on Wednesday to meet Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan.

Meanwhile, the representatives of the Dutch companies that will accompany the minister will participate in matchmaking programs in Ankara and Istanbul to explore direct business opportunities.

The Netherlands has ranked number one as foreign direct investment in Turkey in the 2005-2008 period and trade volume between the two countries has tripled in the 2004-2008 period. While the global economic turndown affected the trade between the two countries negatively, Kervers said the Netherlands believes in the future economy of Turkey, and expects to have the growing trend in trade volume between the two countries continue. “Turkey is important for the Netherlands. We invest in the future of Turkey, a country with a large and young population. And the visit of this economic mission confirms that confidence,” he said.

Most of the representatives of the companies accompanying the minister are interested in the renewable energy sector where Turkey has great potential, said Kervers.

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