When the Netherlands is mentioned to a large portion of Argentines, the first thing that comes to mind is Queen Máxima Zorreguieta. But, beyond this inevitable link, the two countries share an important economic and trade bond. Among other examples, the largest amount of Argentinian agro-exports to Europe enters the port of Rotterdam and there are more than 40 Dutch companies in the country.
In this context, and despite the fact that the Netherlands is the fourth historical investor in Argentina, in an interview with TN its ambassador Roel Nieuwenkamp warned that “There is a lack of an investment climate” and he listed the difficulties posed by stocks, price controls and “not so clear rules” to get Dutch companies to invest in the country.
– How are bilateral relations with Argentina?
– They are doing very well and business relationships are very important. The port of Rotterdam is one of the most important in the world for exporting soybeans, wheat, lemons, everything and in Argentina we have an important role with very large companies.
– In which sectors could bilateral cooperation be deepened?
– Sustainable energy this is the biggest and unlimited opportunity. When it comes to green hydrogen, sun or wind, Argentina has it all. An investment climate is lacking. I see great opportunities in sustainable energy, in the medium term it could be very interesting for us.
– What is needed to change the investment climate in the country?
– Well, these are very well known subjects. Stocks don’t work well for investors because it’s almost impossible to put in a dollar and not be able to withdraw it. Dutch investors said: “With stocks we are not going to invest”. There are rules that are not so clear and price control also has an influence. It is difficult to explain to businesses that there are exchange rates of $ 15. We need to explore an agreement with the IMF and the Paris Club to stimulate an investment climate.
– So, until the current situation changes, is it difficult to wait for new Dutch investments?
– Yes, and also commercial. Because, for example, with such a high country risk, it is almost impossible to get export insurance. Our export credit agency estimates that an agreement with the IMF is necessary and a substantial reduction in country risk. ‘
What are the environmental policies of the Netherlands
If this is a short timeframe, the Netherlands is one of the countries most concerned about the level of pollution and environmental degradation. The mere thought of rising oceans and seas shocks the whole of the Netherlands. Almost 26% of the country is at real risk of being underwater if the course of action is not changed and state policies go in that direction.
– Have you had a rapprochement with the Argentine government for environmental issues?
– Not so much now, there is no cooperation between our companies and the government in environmental matters. We have cooperation in water management, to collaborate in flood and water control.
– The Netherlands is a symbol of environmental policies, why?
– For us it is an existential question because 26% of our territory is below sea level and nearly 60% are vulnerable to flooding. This is why we have set ourselves ambitious goals such as achieving 100% sustainable energy by 2050, zero carbon dioxide emissions and 100% circular economy.
– Concretely, what are the policies of the Netherlands?
– In the Netherlands we have electric cars everywhere, gas stations with chargers and roofs with solar panels. There are also other examples like that of the company Ocean Cleanup which collects plastic in the ocean, recycles it, manufactures sunglasses and even affixes a QR code to identify where the plastic comes from. .
– How do you deal with the water problem?
– To gain territory, we have a collaborative situation.
– How it works?
– We conclude agreements with different sectors to reduce emissions or increase the rate of sustainable energy. We rely on a broad consensus. For example, if a field is flooded, its owner will not throw water on the one next to it, but they will try to solve it together.
– Many times all these policies seem far away in Argentina, when did the Netherlands start to implement them?
– Not so long ago, about two years ago, the country saw a turning point and undergone a radical transformation where solar panels, electric cars and the like appeared.
– What is the limit so that it is not later?
– In the long term, we are thinking of 2050, but by 2030, we must have 50% sustainable and circular energy.
– Are you worried about the consequences they may have in the Netherlands?
– For us it is very worrying, in a recent report from our Meteorological Service, it was concluded that if the world continues like this by 2100, the sea level will rise by 1.2 meters and 2 meters by 2300, which for the countries- Bas would mean no longer being the Netherlands. Low to become the “very low countries” or to dive. We have to change to survive.
– Do you see a commitment from your European partners?
– Yes, we work a lot with them. We have programs like the Green Deal with very ambitious goals. We cannot change the climate alone, but we can do it together.
Concern in Europe regarding the Omicron variant
The Omicron variant has sounded the alarm all over the world, but especially in Europe. Infections have risen sharply in recent weeks, and detected cases of the new strain have prompted many countries to re-enforce restrictions. The Netherlands was no exception and started restricting nighttime traffic and other activities.
Also read: Netherlands: Thousands demonstrate against COVID measures in Utrecht
“It’s a worrying tension”admitted Ambassador Roel Nieuwenkamp, and although he is convinced that the Netherlands has “a very high vaccination rate of around 85%”, he acknowledged that it is “important to persuade people to get vaccinated “.
Various cities in the Netherlands have been the scene of marches and demonstrations of anti-vaccine movements. In this regard, Nieuwenkamp considered that these groups “They are a mix between the vandals and those who do not believe in vaccines”, while stressing how essential it is to make them understand the importance of vaccination.
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