THE Hongkong-based Dutch Business Association symbolises the centuries old trading interest that Holland has shown in this part of Asia. The Dutch East Indies Co was probably the first officially named trading organisation to spread its wings in Asia. When Hongkong grew out of the barren rock after 1841, Dutch traders were among the first to engage in business here. It is not surprising that this interest, which began over 150 years ago, persists and a number of Dutch companies are doing business in Hongkong or through Hongkong. The Dutch Business Association (DBA), which started two years ago, has around 100 members today. It got off the ground in April 1991 and was incorporated seven months later. ''Our association is a platform for Dutch and Dutch-related companies. In the first stage of our development, which is more or less finished, we tried to be as representative as possible,'' said Mr B.A Postma, chairman of the DBA. Mr Postma is the general manager of the Hongkong branch of Holland's Rabobank Nederland. ''The next stage of development will be more activities for the benefit of members which we hope would be helpful in attracting more Dutch-related businesses.'' Mr Postma was thinking in terms of additional workshops and business trips to Vietnam and China as well as to the home country, Holland. The DBA chairman believes that extending the association's activities to Holland will provide important contacts with major local Dutch organisations and improve its contacts at home. ''That will also help attract more Dutch companies with business in the Far East.'' He believes it will be useful for Hongkong-based Dutch companies to take a closer look at Vietnam. Dutch companies have been operating in that country for quite some time in areas such as shipping and banking. Meanwhile, Mr Postma thought that there were good prospects for Dutch businesses in the territory. ''We have done relatively well here. Holland, traditionally, has functioned in trade and transport just as Hongkong has, so there is a connection'', Mr Postma said. He conceded that the number of Dutch companies based in Hongkong had not increased dramatically. But there were new Dutch companies setting up shop in China. This expansion has seen similar organisations as the DBA emerging in Guangzhou and Shanghai and a regular business lunch in Beijing for Dutch businessmen organised with the help of the Netherlands Embassy there.