SER hosts members of Dutch trade mission

POSTED: 07/23/13 11:54 AM

Dutch delegation meets SER

Members of the Dutch trade mission that accompanied Prime Minister Rutte of the Netherlands meet with the Social Economic Council of St. Maarten (SER). Photo SER

St. Maarten – Last Saturday, the Social Economic Council (SER) played host to a three person delegation who were part of the Dutch trade mission that recently visited St. Maarten. SER Chairman René Richardson welcomed the Director-General for Foreign Economic Relationships at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Simon Smits, chairman of MKB, the Dutch organization for medium and small enterprises, Hans Biesheuvel, and Marije Feersma-Hoekstra, senior policy advisor of the Representative of the Netherlands on Curacao.

The visit of the Dutch delegation to the SER served mainly as a familiarization visit to the council. The SER chairman gave an outline of the workings of the advisory body and highlighted the achievements over the past two years. Secretary-general Gerard Richardson outlined some of the future projects of the SER and summarized the recently submitted draft law AOV advice.

The delegation members were interested to know in what areas SER contributed to St. Maarten society. The SER council members expressed their views on this matter and focused mainly on the cooperation between businesses, government, and labor unions. Topics such as the economy, education, crime, (youth) unemployment, pension schemes, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) were also discussed.

Senior policy advisor of the SER Drs. Arjen Alberts provided the guests with a presentation on its symposium theme of CSR. The delegation members shared their views on the topic and comparisons were drawn with other nations where CSR is becoming more and more an integral part of the operations of companies in the private sector.

All parties agreed that the best way forward for businesses is to accept some sort of responsibility for the social challenges faced in the community. This rule, they felt, can be applied worldwide in these challenging economic times.

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