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Brexit: Number of companies relocating to the Netherlands 'is accelerating'

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A canal in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
A canal in Amsterdam, Netherlands.   -   Copyright  Pixabay
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The Netherlands has lured 140 Brexit-wary companies since the 2016 referendum to quit the EU, it was claimed on Wednesday.

More than half of the firms — 78 — moved last year, according to Netherlands' Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA).

They are expected to create more than 4,200 jobs and inject €375 million in investment into the economy.

The NFIA said that uncertainty over when and how the UK would exit led to a surge in interest last year.

It is now in talks with 425 "Brexit companies" about making a similar move, up from just 175 at the beginning of last year.

The UK formally left the EU on January 31 and immediately entered into a transition period. But the exact terms of its future relationship with the bloc and the access it will secure remain to be hashed out.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reiterated that he would not seek an extension to the transition period and that a free trade agreement would have to be struck before the end of the year. EU officials have, however, already warned that it is too narrow a timeframe for a comprehensive agreement to be reached.

The companies making the move to the Netherlands or thinking of doing so are not just British ones but also American and Asian firms that are reconsidering their European structure as uncertainty persists.

"2020 will be an important year for these companies. Much will depend on the specifics of the future arrangements in the relation between the UK and the EU," NFIA Commissioner Jeroen Nijland said in a statement.

"We see that uncertainty is still increasing at many companies. They are waiting to make investment decisions until more is known about the impact of these new economic agreements on their business operations," he added.

Most of the companies that the Netherlands has attracted offer services in sectors including Fintech, IT, the media and advertising.

"With an English-speaking population, the excellent connections to the UK and the EU by road, boat, train and plane and our strong digital infrastructure, choosing the Netherlands is an attractive alternative," Nijland said.