Doing Business in Arab Countries
29 January, 2018duguech
If you are looking to do business in Arab countries, it is advisable to consider various aspects that will make commerce relationships with Gulf Countries easier.
In order to avoid making mistakes that can jeopardize your entrepreneurial activities, it is important to know that more than a religion, Islam, the most wide spread believe in the region, is more of a way of living and each one of the Islam countries has its own customs, even regarding business procedures.
If you want to succeed in one of the most important markets in the world, you will be given a set of recommendations as follows:
- Having basic knowledge about the local culture will surely open up some doors but remember that gaining the trust of your future partner may take more time than you may think. Once you have proven your loyalty, you will have earned a friend and the affection of the whole family, because family and commerce relationships are closely interwoven.
- Arabs are hospitable and forthcoming by nature, but it is very important to know the limits regarding personal encounters with them. Asking about family members is considered to be a good gesture, but you should never make reference to women. Have in mind that affection display is forbidden.
- Before signing up a contract you must let yourself go and relax for long periods of time with your future partner. Do never think about splitting a restaurant check. Allow your partner to take care of the check and next time show reciprocity.
- Do never greet, hand out or receive anything with your left hand. If you are left handed excuse yourself with a smile.
- It is not allowed to eat pork or alcoholic drinks.
- Be especially aware of nonverbal communication as crossing your legs in front of the person that you are speaking with and displaying your shoe soles towards them is considered to be very impolite.
- Be respectful and do not say by any instance that you do not believe in God if you happen to be an atheist. In Arab countries, being an atheist is simply inexplicable.
- Do not try to look like a local because you are not. It is not necessary to dress the traditional local clothes of the country that you are visiting; it could even be illegal and seen as lack of respect.
- Locals fast rigorously during Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Muslim year so keep in mind the local calendar and remember that it is not advisable to do business during those days.
- Do not program meetings on Friday, which is the Arab countries holiday, or during prayer time which is done five times a day.
You will be informed about visa requirements, your passport valid time, entrance and departure taxes and other entrance and departure formalities at the Consulate in your destiny country.
You will need a presentation letter from the company that you are doing business with or from your partner in the region, including the purpose of your trip and schedule.
The ICEX will assist you on the legal and political framework for doing business in the Arab market, as well as the formalities needed to start up business or working permissions.
Due to the tense political situation of the region, it is advisable to have the Spanish Embassy telephone number at hand and sign up your name in the Registered Travelers System.
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