Dutch officials sign business agreement with the East

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Trade officials of Dutch province Drenthe have signed a partnership agreement with Norfolk and Suffolk today, strengthening trade relations between the areas.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is a leap forward from the trade visit in July 2018 when Dutch delegates met with business representatives from The East for the first time discussing joint-working with a focus on inward investment, export and collaboration on research and development (R&D).

New Anglia LEP’s Inward Investment team initiated the joint-working relationship supported by Suffolk and Norfolk County Councils. There are great similarities between the areas, including geography, economy, development and the areas’ strengths in the key sectors of life sciences, biotech, agri-tech, energy, construction and ICT/ tech and digital creative.

Focus of work:

  • Creating direct links – Facilitating commercial and organisational ties between businesses, academia and other organisations
  • Niche markets – Developing and exploring niche economic sub-sectors and projects
  • Trade events – Participating in specific events and/ or trade shows of mutual benefit to develop investment and export leads (eg Food & Drink Festival in January 2019 in The Netherlands, UK Energy conference)
  • Trading – Planning and delivering a trade visit to the UK for early 2019 with businesses, with alternating potential future annual visits between Drenthe and the East (Norfolk & Suffolk)
  • Inter-regional projects – Considering the development of an INTERREG project
  • Regional collaboration – Exploring ideas around regional collaboration (eg Groningen and Friesland in The Netherlands, and Cambridgeshire and London areas).


Henk Brink, Deputy Governor of Drenthe Provincie said: “I’m looking forward to exploring the opportunities in the Provincie of Drenthe and East Anglia. Two regions that have strong cultural and historical ties, but also a prosperous future.

“We’re only a short distance away, from door to door it’s no more than three hours.”

Doug Field, Chair of New Anglia LEP, said: “This partnership agreement to work closely together on trade and investment opportunities opens new doors for businesses in Norfolk, Suffolk and Drenthe. These initiatives are the way forward in this economic climate and we’re excited about the exchange of ideas, R&D and export prospects.”

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