Argentina is a fascinating and challenging country for incoming foreign companies, whether they are importing their staff or recruiting in-country. The contrasts are startling, from the cosmopolitan capital Buenos Aires and other urban centres such as Rosario and Mendoza to the open plains of the Pampas, which are still the domain of working gaucho cowboys.

The eighth-largest landmass in the world, Argentina’s stunning landscape includes the Andes mountain range and the Patagonia desert. With year-round sunshine, the sub-tropical north of Argentina stretches 2,360 miles along an Atlantic coastline to the sub-Antarctic region of Tierra del Fuego at its southern tip. Spanish is the spoken language, and the country’s heritage reflects the culture of Spain and Italy, which adds to the attraction for European ex-pats.

Argentina is the third-largest economy in Latin America, behind Brazil and Mexico, but is playing an increasing role in the global economy. Argentina’s memberships include the World Trade Organisation, the G20 group of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, the International Labour Organisation, the United Nations and many other regional institutions. Nevertheless, traditional values and outlooks still apply in the business environment for companies and individuals. So, there will be a lot to get used to. Ready for the challenge? Now is the time to get down to business. So here are a few tips on taking the best steps and clearing those cultural hurdles.

The Basics of the Argentinian Work Culture

Language: Spanish is the language, so learn some phrases even if advised the meeting will be in English. Check ahead and, if necessary, engage an interpreter.

Punctuality:  Show you value the opportunity by being on time.

Negotiations:  Face-to-face meetings are essential for building trust in a working relationship. It can be lively and animated but always shows respect for colleagues and opposite numbers. Argentines will expect to negotiate with individuals of the same status as themselves.

Greetings: A firm, brief handshake with eye contact, address the men as Señor and the women as Señora. Introductions will usually be in the order of seniority. Once the atmosphere relaxes, Argentines are generally not precious about personal space.

Business Cards: In Spanish on one side, which should be presented face up, with the English version on the reverse.

Dress Code: Make the effort to be innovative and stylish with your choice of business wear, as appearances are an essential way of making an impression.

Gift Giving: It’s rare for gifts to be exchanged.

Out of Hours: Lunches, dinners and socialising are also part of building the relationship, an opportunity for getting to know each other out of the meeting room.


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