Finding business partners abroad
- Check the landeninformatie (country information, in Dutch), and get specific tips for finding customers and business partners.
- Get information from agents or contacts of colleagues operating in the same sector.
- Seek advice from advisors at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK) and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.
- The Netherlands Enterprise Agency also offers the Business partner scan, to quickly provide you with an overview of potential business partners in your chosen country.
- Get in touch with the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN). They offer, among other things, access to a database of business partners, carrying profiles of thousands of companies from some 60 countries. You can also fill out your own profile.
- Register for CONNECTS, a business platform that connects bilateral chambers of commerce for over 12 countries, including the Netherlands.
- Visit international trade shows (see Auma or Expo Database) and get in touch with potential customers. The Enterprise Europe Network organises matchmaking events at international trade shows.
- International organisations, such as banks that operate all over the world, but also the EU or the United Nations are often looking for suppliers; find out if you might offer your services.
- Take part in a trade mission (in Dutch).
- Ask the foreign network (buitenlandnetwerk, in Dutch) for support. The network can help you find your feet in international trade, investments, research, and collaboration.
- Make use of the services provided by the Centre for Improvement of Import from developing countries (CBI). The Centre connects businesses from developing countries with potential European business partners.
Profile of foreign supplier or producer
Create a profile of the trading partner you want to work with. You can then search more easily. List in the profile what is important to you. For example:
- delivery and payment conditions
- the service and warranty that the business partner must provide
- size of the company
- attention to corporate social responsibility (CSR)
- good knowledge of certain languages
The European Union (EU) has trade agreements with various countries and groups of countries. As a result, you usually pay less or no import duties for products that you import from a treaty country. Are you importing from an EU country? Then you never pay import duties.
Set up a foreign branch
Another option is setting up a foreign branch of your company. This will simplify matters greatly: you won’t have to make special arrangements for deliveries and payments of your products. But it will take up more of your time. It will also mean higher costs.
Working with an agent
You can also work with an agent. They act as an intermediary between you and the supplier or producer of the goods. They pay the agent a commission for this service. Or you buy goods from an importer. Read more.
Check your foreign business partners’ reliability
Limit your risks by checking your customer’s or business partner’s reliability before you start doing business with them. For instance, check if they are registered in the foreign Business Register. You can also hire a credit reporting agency to check on an organisation.
Is your business partner authorised to sign?
Also check who is authorised to sign within a company. Does it later appear that your business partner is not autorised to have signed the contract with you? Then the contract is invalid.