October 21th several RMSC-members participated in a workshop on commodity trade, organized by Deloitte. In this workshop specific input was retrieved for Rotterdam’s strategy to develop as a leading global trading hub and for a meeting with the Dutch tax authorities on this subject.
Last year, dr. Wouter Jacobs (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Thomas van Bergen (Deloitte) did an exploratory study on the position of Rotterdam in the global commodity trading industry, supported by the City of Rotterdam. The research showed that Rotterdam is home to a substantial numbers of global commodity trading businesses with an extensive trading infrastructure to support them such as trade financers, inspection service providers, insurance brokers and maritime lawyers.
However, fierce competition with other trading hubs, in particular Geneva, puts Rotterdam’s position under pressure. Therefore a follow-up research was commissioned by the City and Port of Rotterdam to find ways to strengthen the competitiveness of Rotterdam as a global commodity trading hub.
The follow-up research primarily focuses on a comparison with other global commodity trading hubs (Geneva, Dubai and Singapore) on a number of best practices. Upon request of the Port Authority, sustainable investments by commodity traders were also included in the scope of the research.
Different from the previous study, the research is action-driven. Inspired by the comparison with the other trading hubs, two strategic points of action have been undertaken to strengthen the competitive position of Rotterdam. First, executive training and specialized education on commodity trading is being realized. To enhance the skill set of young students in Finance, Mathematics and other relevant studies who aspire to work in commodity trading, dr. Wouter Jacobs is working hard on the arrangements for a Master’s program in commodity trading at the EUR. The Master’s program will be set up in close collaboration with renowned industry partners such as Cargill and Wilmar. Simultaneously, opportunities for specific fiscal arrangements for commodity traders – with the aim to create a level playing field with Geneva – have been explored. A successful meeting with the Dutch tax authorities (Belastingdienst and Douane) earlier this month showed their willingness to create such a fiscal level playing field. The results so far are promising, but realization of the ambition requires a long term process of cooperation between the involved public and private actors.