Dutch employers organisations are urging the government to lobby hard to form a new trade bloc with the US to create a counterbalance against China, the Financieele Dagblad said on Thursday.
Such a move would give the World Trade Organisation more teeth, VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland wrote in a ‘position paper‘ they have sent to parliament.
‘’We should examine our interests and use them to make a new approach,’ said VNO-NCW chairman Hans De Boer. ‘We must join the race to the top instead of being on the defensive all the time.’ De Boer argued for a new initiative, a ‘smart deal’ with the US instead of a trade war. He said parliament should work towards a new trade bloc.
The US is the Netherlands’ largest trading partner outside the EU, accounting for annual bilateral trade of €50bn, of which €20bn is Dutch exports to the US.
Dutch direct investment in the US totalled €170bn at end-2017, while the US had €118bn directly invested in the Netherlands. De Boer said a trade bloc with the US would enable its members to determine the international standards of trade, sustainability and security. It could, he said, also reciprocate against China.