On March 14, 2012, the Center for Culture and Security at The Institute of World Politics and The European-American Business Council hosted the Ambassador of the Netherlands to the United States, Renée Jones-Bos.
The Ambassador gave a lecture on the long historic, economic, and strategic relationship that links the US and the Netherlands. This relationship goes back over four hundred years, and is characterized by a shared history and common values, ranging from the first settlement of the Dutch trading companies at the Valley of Hudson River to the current vibrant economic and strategic partnership.
Johns Adams, who would later become an American President, visited the Netherlands when the colonies were still fighting for their independence. He sought the assistance of the Dutch government, particularly in the form of loans, to help the Americans gain their independence. Later, Dutch banks lent the United States the amount it needed when President Thomas Jefferson decided to purchase Louisiana from the French government.
After highlighting the historical aspects of the US-Netherlands relationship, the Ambassador went on to illustrate the economic ties between these nations. "The Netherlands is the third largest investor in the United States, and one of its largest export partners," said Ambassador Jones-Bos. Dutch companies have been lucrative enterprises for the US economy and have generated jobs for many Americans. The relationship goes even deeper than merely companies and jobs: "About ninety percent of American made cars have components from the Dutch steel industry." The economic ties between the US and the Netherlands have helped promote jobs, generated prosperity, and strengthened the economic cooperation between the two nations.
While both nations continue to benefit from their economic relationship, they are indeed faced by various issues that threaten and challenge their economic ties. These range from unfair competition to regulations on shipping companies. Ambassador Jones-Bos and the Embassy of Netherlands are working closely with the US to address these challenges.
The Ambassador then discussed the strategic relationship between Netherlands and the United States military, which can be traced through the Korean War in the 1950s, NATO during the Cold War, the War on Drugs in the Caribbean, and the 2001 War in Afghanistan. The Ambassador also made special mention of America's sacrifice to secure Dutch freedom in WWII. Recently, the Dutch government has been working closely with the US in issues involving sanctions on Iran, unrest in the Middle East, and counterterrorism intelligence. The Dutch government has also kept human rights as a priority in its foreign policy agenda. It has coordinated with the United States government on policies that will help reduce violations of human rights, shrink poverty, and help countries build rule of law. Ambassador Jones-Bos concluded her lecture by reiterating the importance of working together with the US to strive to move forward, especially during the current financial crisis, to promote economic cooperation and sustain the relationship of the two nations in both good times and bad times.
Renée Jones-Bos has been the Dutch Ambassador to the United States since 2008. She has worked as a freelance interpreter and translator at Interlingua. She speaks German, Russian, French, Dutch, and Italian. Before assuming her current position, she was Director-General for Regional Policy and Counsel Affairs from 2005-2008.
Above: Amb. Louise Oliver, Distinguished Fellow at IWP; Ambassador Renée Jones-Bos; John Lenczowski, IWP President; Michael Maibach, President and CEO of the European-American Business Council.
Photo by IWP student David Roush, Terra Nova Imaging