Global Business@Meridian Downtown: The Netherlands

Ambassador Stuart Holliday, Ambassador Schuwer and Scott Parven at Global Business Breakfast @ Meridian Downtown
Ambassador Stuart Holliday, Ambassador Schuwer and Scott Parven at Global Business Breakfast @ Meridian Downtown


Meridian held an installment of the Global Business@Meridian Downtown breakfast series on May 20th, 2016.  Hosted by Mr. Scott Parven, Partner at member law firm Akin Gump, the program featured His Excellency Hendrick Jan Jurrian Schuwer, Ambassador of the Netherlands to the United States, and drew 20 corporate leaders together to engage in an off-the-record dialogue on US-Dutch bilateral relations and reflections from the Netherland’s current presidency of the European Union.


Akin Gump

In Attendance

  • Embassy of the Netherlands: Ambassador Schuwer, Ms. Carla Bundy (Press Officer)
  • Corporate Council Members: Akin Gump, Albright Stonebridge, AT&T, Gallup, Google, The Coca-Cola Company, Samsung
  • Guests: Abbott, Applied Materials, General Electric, RELX, Studios Architecture, Squire Patton Boggs,
  • Meridian International Center: Ambassador Stuart Holliday, Amy Selco, Bonnie Glick, Olivia Dorieux, Puru Trivedi

Featured Remarks:

  • Scott Parven, Akin Gump
    Following around-the-table guest introductions facilitated by Ambassador Stuart Holliday, Mr. Parven offered his remarks on Akin Gump’s work in the Netherlands and throughout Europe. Akin Gump’s clients include both private sector clients as well as sovereign governments, and they help represent the interests of many European countries in Washington.
  • Ambassador Schuwer, Embassy of the Netherlands
    Following Mr. Parven’s remarks, Ambassador Schuwer opened his remarks by detailing the close ties of the Netherlands and the United States. The United States is the biggest investor into the Netherlands, and the country in turn is the third largest investor in the United States. 31% of investment of the United States into Europe is in the Netherlands. Ambassador Schuwer highlighted the shared history of both nations, with the Netherlands being one of the earliest allies of the United States. Both the Netherlands and the United States face many of the same issues, both domestic and international, and the Ambassador’s remarks sought to detail some of these challenges.

Key Discussion Highlights

  • Global Refugee Crisis: Upon reflection of the Netherland’s presidency over the past several months, the refugee crisis in Europe has been the biggest topic of concern for nations both inside the EU and its trading partners. The Netherlands have taken in over 1.5 Million refugees in the last year, and have made a commitment to treat their refugees with proper living standards as they would want for their citizens. It has been a challenge for the Netherlands to house the refugees appropriately, and have resorted to finding housing within barracks, dormitories, and other civilian defense installments
  • From an EU perspective, some smaller municipalities in neighboring countries have seen a population increase of around 5-6%. Many of the refugees to do not have the necessary education and skills to be employed and integrated into European society, which has become the biggest challenge for many of the EU nations. There is increased pressure towards Turkey and Libya to adhere to protocols for refugees.
  • "Brexit": Of all the countries in the EU, none has a more special relationship with the bloc than the United Kingdom. There are voices within the U.K. calling for more decision making out of London, as opposed to Brussels, however the U.K already has, what many Europeans feel, a great deal with the EU and mechanisms in place for compensation of losses.
  • Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnernship (TTIP): The Netherlands and it’s Scandinavian neighbors view TTIP favorably. While negotiations have slowed in the past months, the EU prefers to reach a deal during the Obama administration. One of the reasons for this is because there is a great deal of negotiation ‘institutional memory’ that might be lost during a change in administration. Part of the TTIP negotiations includes a special tribunal for trade redress, which would help clear existing issues within government procurement.
  • Sanctions on Russia: The Netherlands are in favor of a rollover of sanctions for another 6 months. The current time frame for renewing sanctions is every 6 months, and the Netherlands would like a longer term for the sanctions before renewal, to have a more considered debate on the future of the sanctions.

Meridian looks forward to working with the Netherlands on a number of upcoming initiatives and remaining engaged with the Embassy of the Netherlands in Washington.

For Council items, please contact Puru P. Trivedi, Associate Director for Corporate Relations | 202-939-5524 |

Project summary

Global Business@Meridian Downtown: The Netherlands | May 2016
Number of Attendees: 20
Regions: Europe and Eurasia
Countries: Netherlands
Impact Areas: Business and Trade
Program Areas: Diplomacy
Partners: Private Sector