After a week-long fact-finding mission to the west coast of the US, economic affairs minister Henk Kamp has come away very impressed with the Silicon Valley’s ‘challenging entrepreneurial environment which is supported by its great universities,’ the Financieele Dagblad reported on Thursday.
The OECD has warned that the dark side of the innovations being developed there is that they can lead to job losses. But Kamp is more upbeat, the FD said.
‘We are certain to lose jobs in the Netherlands if we don’t work with robotics,’ he told the paper. ‘But by using robots wisely we will retain jobs.’ These jobs are in product development, sales, maintenance and services, he said.
Kamp said there were similar fears with the development of the steam engine and the computer. Yet there is less than 6% unemployment in the Netherlands, he added.
Kamp and prince Constantijn of start-up platform StartupDelta headed the delegation of 30 Dutch start-up companies to the giant consumer electronics fair in Las Vegas followed by a visit to Silicon Valley.
They spoke with companies such as Tesla, Amazon, Google and Qualcomm, all of which have large subsidiaries or European headquarters in Holland. But the mission was also geared to attract start-ups to come to the Netherlands.
Kamp said the Netherlands was the third-largest foreign investor in the US, good for 740,000 jobs, 65,000 of them in California. The US is a big investor in the Netherlands as well with 600,000 jobs to its credit.
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