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NFIA Code of Conduct

Background to the NFIA

The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) is a Dutch government organization that operates under the authority of the Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate Policy. At the same time, NFIA is commissioned by the Minister for Foreign Trade & Development Cooperation.

NFIA’s main tasks consist of attracting foreign companies to the Netherlands, helping them with follow-on investments in our country or retaining them when their strategies are being reconsidered. To this end the national NFIA works closely with its regional partners, including the regional development agencies, through the Invest in Holland network. Thus, foreign companies are supported in a coordinated and integrated manner, increasing the probability that companies will choose our country and locate in the right place within the Netherlands.

Who do we work for

NFIA supports foreign companies in setting up or expanding their international activities in the Netherlands. NFIA does this by informing companies about the Dutch business climate and through introductions to relevant parties who can provide them with this information. We always comply with Dutch laws and regulations in this work. We work for all sectors and activities. We only work for companies with substance, companies that create concrete employment and tangible added value. NFIA does not support letterbox companies or companies that are only registered on paper.

Our starting points

We place great importance on a reliable and honest government. We want to avoid conflicts of interest, guarantee impartiality and take into account the rules for government communication. These are examples from our central government’s Code of Conduct on Integrity (in Dutch). The rules in this Code of Conduct apply in full force for all NFIA employees.

NFIA employees must report the potential risk of a financial conflict of interest and the improper use of price-sensitive information to their director and the compliance officer at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), of which NFIA is a part. In addition, in 2017 NFIA drew up guidelines for its employees regarding communication on tax matters. Finally, NFIA always works in line with applicable guidelines for specific sectors and business activities, such as the protocol for dealing with the tobacco industry (in Dutch).

Confidentiality and privacy

For the performance of its tasks, NFIA works together with regional partners within the Invest in Holland network, whereby covenants ensure amongst other things the confidentiality of information. Confidential and competition-sensitive information that companies share with the NFIA will at all times be treated confidentially and only in light of the company’s enquiry. Such information will therefore never be disclosed to third parties without prior permission from the company in question, unless Dutch law stipulates that this (anonymized information) must be provided.

We place great value on the protection of privacy and the safety of personal data. We process personal data in accordance with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the GDPR Implementation Act. Through our privacy policy notice we make clear what our privacy policy is and what we do with personal data.

Service providers and partners

NFIA services are provided free of charge. Hence we are not a commercial service provider and therefore do not provide services that commercial market players offer. As a consequence, we refer to specialized parties for specific information requests. NFIA employees are not permitted to have a personal involvement or a commercial interest in these parties.

For regional information, NFIA staff refer potential investors to its Invest in Holland partners. When companies need more specialized services, we discuss the options for providers of such services. These may include, for example, recruitment agencies, consulting firms, engineering firms, notaries and licensing agencies.

The wishes and activities of the (potential) investing companies are always leading during introductions with relevant organizations. The company is and remains responsible at all times for the selection of relevant service providers. When a company has negative experiences with a service provider and shares this with us, we will consult with the service provider about it. If these experiences persist, we can choose to end contacts with the service provider.

Service providers can introduce themselves to the NFIA at any time via info@nfia.nl.

Information about our business climate

NFIA’s tasks also include providing explanations about the laws and regulations in the Netherlands that are relevant to foreign companies. These explanations are factual and neutral. For detailed or specific information needs, we contact experts within the government. We can also introduce a company to specific departments of the government that can further inform the company about these laws and regulations, for example about implementation and enforcement.

Dutch legislation and regulations are factors that contribute to the business climate for businesses. Other factors include: physical and digital infrastructure, the labor market, living conditions and the social climate. NFIA can provide companies with factual information about these and other business climate factors.

We can share your feedback about our business climate with national and regional authorities, provided that patterns in this collective feedback indicate an underlying business climate issue. This can be included in policy-making discussions with regard to the business climate. Besides having a signaling function, as an operational unit of the Dutch government, NFIA has no role in policy-making.

Duty to report

If, from our contacts and information signals arise about attempts at bribery or improper influence on NFIA or other Dutch authorities, or when there seems to be rumor of corruption, conscious evasion of current regulations in our country, or threats to our economic security, then we will always report this to our commissioning ministries (the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and other relevant authorities.

We also actively encourage our employees to report integrity issues. They can report these to their (higher) management or to the integrity coordinator at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). All employees can also consult confidential advisors within RVO for further advice.

Enforcement

For NFIA and NFIA staff, the above principles are guiding in the performance of our tasks. We make every effort to ensure internal compliance with this Code of Conduct. If nevertheless you believe that this has not occured (sufficiently) in appropriate cases, you may report this to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

Last update: 24 April 2020

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