Doing business in Latin America

Content for this page will be prepared by students in the Panama, Dominican Republic and Honduras programs.



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  • 1.    Hector  |  April 25th, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Greetings all, just wanted to drop an observation here about how businesses in Panama may yield different result then some of the other Latin American countries. This is something I posted in the women and minorities blog area, but seems that it may have a small piece here to. Mind you I am only making an observations about events that took place here in Panama approximately 12 years ago.

    To begin with for people living in Panama, these questions may yield different results then other South American countries. Until 1999 there was a large American presence due to the military installations and a lot of the older generation Panamanians may recall what it was like living with such a large presence. Due to this, there was a lot of interaction between Americans and host nation nationals. Since the military does not discriminate between men and women, there were instances in which the lead liaison between the American presence and the host nationals was a woman. Due to this, there may be some (older) host nationals that have accepted this ÔÇ£AmericanÔÇØ mentality in their business ethics and act closer to an American point of view.
    Since most of the other Latin American countries did not have such a large American presence, their views will be different than those of Panama.

    Not answering the questions, just stating an observation.

  • 2.    Jesus Florez  |  April 29th, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Dear All,

    Find below our group work regarding Mexico and its Economic, Social, Political and Legal Aspects. Our group is conformed by Diego Salvatierra, Eric Vega, Juan Valle and Jesus Florez.

    Best regards,

    Diego, Erick, Juan and Jesus

    Mexico [United Mexican States, Economic, Social, Political and Legal Aspects]
    ————————————————————————–
    The below presented information is the result of data researched and investigated as regards the current Economic, Social, Political and Legal Aspects of Mexico. ItÔÇÖs also a brief overview of the most important aspects, which can be considered as part of the data gathered. Some of the below points are usually used as reference by multinational companies seeking to invest along to the Mexican territory, employees being relocated from other countries, tourists and students enrolled within interchange programs.
    We would like to start this general overview encouraging you all to click on the below links and watch both videos:

    Multinational Companies Share Why They Choose to Invest in Mexico [Video]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJIu481K6UY

    Discover Mexico
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkisrY5sPjg&feature=related

    Country General Overview:
    Population (2011 Census): 112,322,757 approx.
    GDP (PPP): $1’661 Trillion
    Per Capita (PPP): $ 14’609
    HDI: 0.770
    Literacy: 92.2% of the Population
    Poverty Rate: 42%

    Distribution of the Economy (2010 Estimates):
    ÔÇó Primary Sector (Agriculture) : 3.9% of the GDP
    ÔÇó Secondary Sector (Industry) : 32.6% of the GDP
    ÔÇó Tertiary Sector (Service) : 63.5% of the GDP

    Trade (2010 Estimates):
    ÔÇó Exports: $298.5 Billion
    ÔÇó Imports: $301.5 Billion
    Tourism (UNWTO Estimate): 20 Million / Year

    Mexico is a country located in North America and borders to the north with the United States, to the south to Belize and Guatemala, and has the Caribbean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The countryÔÇÖs total area is 1,972,550 square kilometers. In comparison to Panama, which has 77,381 square kilometers, making Mexico 25 times bigger than Panama? Mexico population is estimated at a 12,322,757 million people approx., in contrast with 3.5 the population of Panama, which makes Mexico 34 times more populated than Panama. Being from Latin American, both Mexican and Panamanian ethnic background are similar because of the Spanish Conquistadors, the main difference lies in that because of the Panama Canal construction, more blacks and oriental found their way to Panama than to Mexico. Mexico City, the capital city, is well known to be most densely e populated city in the world, with an estimated 18 to 20 million people living in it.

    Mexico is a well-known country in the world. Mexican cuisine with their tacos, enchiladas, burritos and nachos are known all over and the culture and music, the Rancheras and Mariachis are also well known. Mexico is also a world power in boxing with many world champions and in soccer, both internationally and their domestic league. Tourism is an important factor in Mexico, with many famous beaches like Acapulco, Los Cabos and Cancun, and their cultural heritage form the Mayas Indians. The vastness of the country makes it an important country for pleasure and for business.

    Mexican government under their current Constitution is a federal republic with 1 Federal District and 31 states. Mexico is also called Estados Unidos Mexicanos, which is United Mexican States. They have a president that serves 6 years but not vice-president. The president then appoints 19 secretaries. Mexico also has a Congress with upper and lower chambers; the upper chamber is occupied by senators who serve 6 years and the lower chamber by deputies, which only serves 3 years. In Mexico, the president legislation is initiated by the president, but it has to be approved by the legislature together with the appointments of the secretaries. Like many countries, Mexico has the three majors division of power, the legislative, the judiciary and the executive.

    For the longest time, Mexico had a nationalistic view of the economy, they were very protective of the Peso, the national currency and of their national markets, mostly because the country was for long time ran by one political party, the PRI, which has a conservative party. One of the PRI main goals was to make Mexico a self-reliant country, having oil reserves, minerals and agricultural, they had the means to do just that. With the PRI out of power, Mexico started to open its doors to imports with a very watchful eye, but little by little trade gain momentum, leading eventually with the creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which decreased trade barriers and open up but open a 400 million people market just in United States and Canada. The Unites States is the main buyer of Mexican exports, but Mexico has also entered into a free trade agreement with the European Union (EU). Making Mexico and Israel the only two countries in the world with access to both markets.

    For many years, oil was the main export of Mexico, but the change in political views, have way for manufacturing to gain and surpass oil as their main exports, the success of this came mostly because of the maquiladora program in the 1960ÔÇÖs but was greatly increase with NAFTA agreement of 1990ÔÇÖs.

    Economic Aspects
    Since the early 1990′s Mexico’s economy has undergone a large amount of improvements and reorganizing, it now stands as the 11th largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity according to The World Bank.

    During the recent years, the Mexican Government slowly but steadily privatized its many companies and businesses, allowing a major boost in the overall economy, as well as opening up the economy to foreign investment.
    Mexico’s economic sectors have undergone rapid modernization. The industrial sector in particular is now mainly focused on hi-tech goods, especially electronics. Mexico is now the world’s number one manufacturer of TV sets, and number three manufacturer of mobile phones and computers. The “Maquilladoras” are still a large portion of the industrial sector, but there is now also a strong Mexican production.

    Mexico has opened up its economy to the world, joining the NAFTA, the OECD, the WTO, among others, its economy is based mainly on export, yet they take care not to open up their economy too much. Mexican legislations heavily control who enters the Mexican market and who doesn’t, and to successfully establish a business there can be difficult.
    Although subsidiaries of international businesses do exist in Mexico, Mexican law restricts participations of more than 49% in companies with a capital exceeding U.S. $100’000’000 (Ley de Inversion Extranjera – LIE, January 2003).

    Joint Ventures and License Agreements have thus begun increasing in frequency, allowing Mexican companies to benefit from a foreign partner’s experience and know-how, and the foreign company from Mexico’s hardworking workforce. This has led to the rise of high-end Mexican companies such as Lanix, an electronics manufacturer, producing everything from TV screens to motherboards and circuit chips for many major brands like Samsung, Sony, HP, Dell, Lenovo, etc.

    The Mexican automotive industry also stands out from the rest of Latin America in that Mexican plants not only assemble the vehicles, but also produce some of the advanced parts needed for the vehicle, and some Mexican firms have established themselves as high value players in the sector (like the DINA Camiones S.A. de C.V., the largest bus manufacturer in the world).
    Doing business in Mexico is therefore very attractive, let’s now explore the more cultural side there is to Mexico’s business practices and etiquette:
    We can distinguish three fundamental values: Communication, Time and Family. According to research conducted by the organization Communicaid, these factors are the cornerstone of Mexican business culture.

    Communication with Mexicans tends to be very indirect and non-confrontational, as such, non-verbal forms of communication are often present and used. An example we are given is the fact that they will generally try not to say “no” out flat, but “will often disguise it in responses such as “maybe” or “we’ll see”".

    Time holds a very distinct value to Mexicans. In their eyes it is seen as a flexible and unlimited concept, not unlike many other Latin American cultures. Mexicans tend to take things slow, and rarely feel urged or in a hurry. As such, it may appear to other cultures that Mexicans, and other Latin Americans are lazy or far too laid-back, but this concept is somewhat erroneous. One mustn’t take the fact that Mexicans bide their time as a sign of not caring about how they conduct their business. On the contrary, mostly they bide their time in order to consider all the possibilities!

    Family is the main focus of Mexicans, and many other Latin American cultures. Family is seen as the most important factor in any person’s life, and it holds a very important place in society. Businesses tend to be family-owned and nepotism is surprisingly frequent, not only inside the business but outside as well. In order to succeed in business ventures with Mexicans, good referrals are extremely important, and the more contacts you have, the better the venture will go.

    Mexican business ethics are somewhat similar to other countries:
    Working hours are generally 9AM to 5PM, but some exceptions do exist. Business meals are a very good way of fomenting good negotiations and getting to know your (possible) business partners. Although final decisions are generally left to the patron of the company, subordinates are encouraged to express their point of view and offer insights and suggestions to improve the business.

    As a general rule, Mexicans do not take kindly to excessive eye contact, or an aggressive or overzealous business proposal, they don’t like being pushed or pestered by continuous reminders or calls, and value their family time as sacred. As such, weekends must not be disrupted by work.
    Mexico is steadily becoming an industrious and self-sustaining economy. Their high HDI is a testament to this. However, social disparity and a high poverty rate are still troubling factors, hinting that more work is needed for the country as a whole to emerge further.
    Government

    Mexico is considered as a Federal Republic based in constitutional democracy. Elections are celebrated every six years in order to elect the president which is the highest public figure representing the country. Current president is Mr. Felipe Calderon. Was elected on December 1st 2006 and will complete his period on December 1st, 2012. Mexico plays an important role through the region politically.

    Judicial System
    MexicoÔÇÖs Judicial System counts with Federal courts which include the Supreme Court, with 21 magistrates; 32 circuit tribunals and 98 district courts, with one judge each. Special courts include a fiscal tribunal and boards of conciliation and arbitration.

    Supreme Court magistrates are appointed for life by the president, with the approval of the Senate, and can be removed only by a guilty verdict after impeachment. The other justices are appointed for six years by the Supreme Court magistrates. The Supreme Court has both original and appellate jurisdiction in four divisions: administrative, civil, labor, and penal. Circuit courts hear appeals from the district courts.
    The jury system is not commonly used in Mexico, but judicial protection is provided by the Writ of Amparo, which allows a person convicted in the court of a local judge to appeal to a federal judge. Capital punishment, except in the army for crimes against national security, was abolished by the penal code of 1 January 1930.

    Although the judiciary is constitutionally independent and judges are appointed for life (unless dismissed for cause), there have been charges that judges are sometimes partial to the executive. Low pay and high caseloads contribute to a susceptibility to corruption in the judicial system. In unprecedented moves in 1993, the government issued an arrest warrant for obstructing justice and for bribery against a former Supreme Court Justice and three federal judges was dismissed for obstructing justice.

    In 1995, Congress passed a judicial reform law. The judicial reform law provides for a competitive examination for selecting most lower and appellate federal court judges and law secretaries. The Supreme Court has the authority to strike down a law for unconstitutionality. The judicial reform law provides that the Supreme Court may declare a law unconstitutional when one-third of the congress, one-third of a state congress, or the Attorney General asks the Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of the law.

    The judicial trial system is based on the Napoleonic Code and consists of a series of fact-gathering hearings. The record of the proceeding is not available to the public.

    After the 2000 presidential election and the end of PRI control of the presidency, the Supreme Court and the judicial power in general has shown signs of greater autonomy and more independence from the elected authorities. The judiciary has consolidated as an independent power of the Mexican state.
    Judicial System Reference

    http://www.moskitoplayadelcarmen.com/real_estate/articles/mexico-history-and-cultural-aspects.php

    Health Care
    Health care in Mexico is managed by the government private entities, or private physicians. Health care system in Mexico is considered as very good to excellent. Many doctors, physicians and professional from other branches are trained in Mexico. Many expert compare the health care system in Mexico as good as other implemented in different countries as the United States or Australia. This is one of key point affecting the region in which can be said that Mexico is ahead of several Latin American countries, which are characterized for hold weak health care system rated as not good, bringing other several issues and social problems. Comparing systems implemented in to Panama, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica, the health care efficiency system in Mexico is still years ahead.

    Education
    The quality of public education in Mexico is considered not as good. Public education through years has shown many deficiencies challenging to the government to seek assistance for prompt solutions. Understand the OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] has implemented program assistance in conjunction with the Mexican government, in order to provide education programs to children living in rural communities. Nevertheless, the level of education in private schools is much higher and can be considered as good. The main issue is that private education canÔÇÖt be afforded by all sectors and is considered as very expensive. Basic education in Mexico is divided as follow: Elementary School or Primaria, Junior High School or Secundaria and High School or Preparatoria. There are a couple of recognized public and private colleges in Mexico based on the US and European system, which allow to many Mexican students to seek opportunities in Europe and the US to study abroad.

    Insecurity and Crime
    Crime, insecurity and drug trafficking are ones of the most important issues/concerns affecting to Mexico. Drug trafficking in Mexico is considered as the most important social issue to be controlled soonest possible by the government, which at the same time has got involved to important public figures, police officials and many others constructing networks which unfortunately as mentioned above involve many public entities. Drug trafficking and organized crime has also been a major source of violent crime in Mexico. Crime rates in Mexico have been reported increasingly through the past years especially in urban cities. Crime is still considered to be in high levels, and is repeatedly shaped by violence. Cities reported which higher crime activity are cities of Tamaulipas, Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, Durango, Baja California, Guerrero, Chihuahua, Michoacán, Nuevo Leon, , Sinaloa. One of the most important facts affecting the tourism sector in Mexico is people abductions. Mexican Tourism. This fact is considered as the most relevant affecting the decrease of tourists visiting Mexico. Insecurity and crime have also brought and play an important role of the massive migration of Mexican citizens into the United States.

  • 3.    Dale Cooper  |  April 29th, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    In the following post I will be adding our information about doing business in South America.

    Group Members:

    Dale Cooper
    Carrie Clark
    Luis Camarena
    Rogelio Icaza
    Arleny de la Cruz Rodriguez

  • 4.    Dale Cooper  |  April 29th, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Okay, well I said I would be posting our paper here but for some reason I’m having technical issues doing it and it’s not allowing me to, so if you’re able to access our team discussion area you will be able to find the information.

  • 5.    Dale Cooper  |  April 29th, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    South America and Latin America have cultures that came all over Europe, specifically Spain, Portugal, South Africa and France. But there are many differences you can tell from Latin America and South America; as for example we canÔÇÖt help but to notice the big influence of Portugal in South America. According to an article of the South America Culture in Wikipedia ÔÇ£50% or more of the South Americans speak PortugueseÔÇØ in which you can tell how influenced they were by Portugal. So much that According to Geographia ÔÇ£ the Brazilian dialect has become the dominant influence in the development of the Portuguese language, for the simple reason that Brazil has 15 times the population of Portugal and a much more dynamic linguistic environmentÔÇØ.

    In Latin America, you can tell only by hearing how people talk, that they were more influenced by Spain and South Africa, by the way the people talk and the language which is Spanish. Most of Latin America has as a primary religion the Christianity, mostly Roman Catholicism. But that’s not the case for South America Culture in which According to Brazil- History ÔÇ£Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion over 80% in Hispanic Countries and Some 65% in Brazil. But in the case of the French Guiana, they have a large number of Protestants. Guyana and Suriname are exception with three major religions: Christianity in general, Hinduism and Islam.ÔÇØ

    Latin American culturesÔÇÖ way of doing business is very particular, compared to other parts of the world. Despite having European influence (Portuguese in Brazil, European in Argentina, and Spanish in Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia) many have adopted their particular ways of doing business but we can summarize the most important business ethics and protocols to take into consideration when doing business with these countries. All speak Spanish, except in Brazil where the national language is Portuguese.

    In almost all of Latin American countries, time is an important factor. Time is less rigid than North American and European countries. For Example showing up with a 30 minute delay or even more is not surprising or considered rude. In fact, it is recommended that when setting times for meetings, ask “la hora inglesa, o la hora espanola?” This means “the English hour” (meaning “at that specific time”) or “the Latin hour” (meaning “If I say 7 oÔÇÖclock, donÔÇÖt be surprised if I donÔÇÖt show up until 7:30 or even later”).

    In almost all Latin American countries, people tend to be friendlier and enjoy social conversation first, and getting to know you before talking business. It is customary to stand closer together during conversations, so be prepared for that, plus casual touching and the ÔÇ£abrazoÔÇØ, or embrace, among good friends, business associates or even people they just met. In Argentina, it is customary for male members to greet each other with a kiss on the cheek. DonÔÇÖt be alarmed to have a Latin businessman hold your elbow while conversing.

    This process is aimed toward getting to know you personally, who you are and where you come from. South Americans is a bit skeptical when it comes to doing business with people from countries that donÔÇÖt belong to the Mercosur (common market of South America formed by Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil).

    The main meal of the day is usually lunch throughout all Latin American countries. However, this should not deter you from also hosting your business guests over dinner in the evening. When toasting, the host will customarily make the first toast and then the guest should respond.

    Most of the countries in Latin America actually place more emphasis on local values than any other foreign value. The meaning of culture for communication and negotiation is very important and complex. Culture is not static and is the expression of dialogue, and negotiation. Therefore is very difficult to perceive. Some countries in Latin America differ from each other in heritage and cultural background. Their geographical origination and mix of ethnicities was a plus for todayÔÇÖs globalization.

    Within the Latin American negotiator characteristics and style of communication that utilizes, we can say that they prefer negotiations in a friendly environment. Working in a deep and intimate level with people who do not know can be risky and uncertain. The Latin America negotiator makes use of bargaining and its business plan is geared more short term. According to Hofstede scale in Latin American culture avoids the confusion and ambivalence. This means they follow more rules and social norms in order to reduce the anxiety associated with risky or unknown situations.

    However, Latin Americans have a fairly relaxed communication style and have no rigid rules of behavior for networking. To reduce the risk, Latin Americans attempt to learn as much information from each other before any transaction. These ties are vital to work in this part of the world. In an effort to reduce uncertainty, Latin Americans need a sense of loyalty before making decisions. Without trust, you cannot trust the other and cannot do any operation. Friendship is essential to develop trust, a fundamental element of loyalty.

    Latin Americans value the goals and achievements of the group over the individual. People function as parts of a whole rather than as independent entities. The family is the most important social unit and is usually priority over other commitments and affiliations. This is evidenced in the workplace. Latin Americans work for a living and take their personal life to the office. To establish a real bond with their American hosts must recognize this trait and show that it respects.

    Most of your communication will take place at lunch, dinner and other social events in which they eat and drink. The talks begin informally and they often exchange large amount of personal information. Latin Americans are very affectionate and do not mind at all having little personal space or touching common. Hugging, kissing on the cheek and touching your arms and back are very common. Prepare to dance and enjoy local meals and activities during their stay. Most Latin Americans prefer the restaurants as the main place to eat and entertain, but sometimes also pleased to invite your guests to your house for dinner.

    Reciprocity is expected. Latin Americans are very generous and expect to be treated the same way. Always express your gratitude and thank your hosts whenever possible. You must respond to hugs and friendly signs of affection. Away from a regular exchange of kisses on the cheek may be misinterpreted as coldness or disgust. In appreciation, invite your host to dinner and offer to pay for food. These are some suggestions when having meals with South Americans, we will follow with some advice everybody foreign to this continent should take into consideration.

    The following discusses important advice that should be taken into consideration by students and business people traveling to South America. An important tip when traveling to South America is for people to make sure they always carry their passport and make sure it is up to date and not within 6 months of expiration. Most countries in South America require visas to be able to enter, some have to be obtained prior to arriving in the country and others can be obtained when arriving in the host airport.

    According to the article South America Destinations people visiting South America should always carry U.S. dollars because it is widely accepted in almost all countries of the continent. Also when exchanging dollars you are able to exchange it for the countryÔÇÖs currency with better rates than with other forms of currency. Cash is very useful to carry around because some places donÔÇÖt accept travelerÔÇÖs checks or credit cards, they strictly deal with cash. Some other forms of payment that are widely used by tourists, students and business people are travelerÔÇÖs checks. These are beneficial in the fact that if for some reason your belongings get stolen or you fall victim to a pickpocket because unlike cash you are able to retrieve this money and cancel the checks.

    Business people, whether on a business trip or starting a business in a destination country in South America should remember that it is important to know about local commercial laws. If people do not know about laws they should hire lawyers that they can trust because some attorneyÔÇÖs will take advantage of peopleÔÇÖs ignorance toward the law. For these reasons it is essential to have ideas about commercial laws in different places to avoid lawsuits. Avoiding lawsuits are can really hurt a business and its image, especially when in other countries and cultures.

    When scheduling business meetings it is typical that a person should set it up 2 weeks prior the date of the meeting. Although, sometimes meetings can be set up on very short notice, so it is good to always be prepared. Usually business appointments canÔÇÖt be set up around certain holidays and celebrations such as Christmas, Easter, and Carnival. If you want to set up a business meeting that you should definitely avoid scheduling them on these specific days. Most business people in South America like to be on time to important meetings, although may keep you waiting if it is not of high importance to them. On the other hand, if the meeting is important enough that will provide future profits in regards to making deals with other international organizations, they will make sure to be prompt and on time (Venezuela, – Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette).

    South America is the fourth largest continent in size and the fifth largest in population. It is located primarily in the southern hemisphere, is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the West. The geography of South America is dominated by the Andes Mountain Range and the Amazon River which is the second longest river in the world.

    Countries of South America are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela. The Cultures of South America draw on diverse cultural traditions. These include the native cultures of the peoples that inhabited the continents prior to the arrival of the Europeans; European cultures, brought mainly by the Spanish, the Portuguese and the French; African cultures, whose presence derives from a long history of New World Slavery; and the United States, particularly via mass culture such as cinema and TV. Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion (over 80% in Hispanic countries, some 65%-70% in Brazil). French Guiana also has a large number of Protestants. Guyana and Suriname are exceptions, with three major religions which are Christianity in general, Hinduism, and Islam. In lowland South America, as well as the Andes, animism and shamanism are common, as noted among the Urarina of Peruvian Amazonia.

    Prior to European colonization, the Incan Civilization was a dominant force in South America. In the 1500′s, Spain and Portugal colonized much of South America. The colonies gained independence in the 1800′s with the help of leaders such as Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin. As a result, much of South America still speaks Spanish and Portuguese is the primary language of Brazil.(2) However, most South American countries are Spanish speaking, and nearly all of the continent’s lusophones reside in Brazil. Among other languages used by many South Americans are Aymara in Bolivia and Peru; Quechua in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru; Urarina in Peruvian Amazonia Guaran├¡ in Paraguay; English in Guyana; Hindi in Guyana and Suriname; Dutch and Indonesian in Suriname; French in French Guyana Italian and German in certain pockets across southern South America, such as Brazil, Uruguay, Peru & Argentina; and Japanese in Peru and Brazil.

    South American nations have a rich variety of music. Some of the most famous genres include samba from Brazil, tango from Argentina and Uruguay, and cumbia from Colombia. Beyond the rich tradition of indigenous art, the development of Latin American visual art owed much to the influence of Spanish, Portuguese and French Baroque painting, which in turn often followed the trends of the Italian Masters. In general, this artistic Eurocentrism began to fade in the early twentieth century, as Latin Americans began to acknowledge the uniqueness of their condition and started to follow their own path. Because of South America’s ethnic mix, South American cuisine takes on African, American Indian, and European influences. Bahia, Brazil, is especially well-known for its West African-influenced cuisine. Peru is especially well known for its ethnic mix influences like African, American Indian, European, Chinese, Japanese, and others.
    One of the most undisputed new types of music from Latin America is the Reggaeton, which has been like a trademark in how you can differentiate them. In Cuba there is more salsa than anywhere else in South America and is known for having high class singers such as: Celia Cruz, Rey Ruiz, Gloria Estefan and many more famous Salsa singers. In the case of South America, they have few International singers which have contributed to the music outside their countries.

    There are many fun facts about South America. The highest point in South America is Cerro Aconagua in the Andes Mountains in the country of Argentina. The largest South American country in both size and population is Brazil. The largest city is Sao Paulo, Brazil, which is the fifth largest country in the world. North and South America were named after Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. The highest waterfall in the world is Santo del Angel. It is almost 1000 meters high!

    Discussion Questions
    1. After reading about South American Culture, would you be willing to relocate there? Why or why not? Explain your reasoning.
    2. Would you do business with South Americans? Why or why not?
    3. How is South Americans way of business similar or different to that of the countries or group of countries that you are studying right now?

  • 6.    Gretel Troetsch  |  April 29th, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    Doing Business in Latin America: A closer look to Central America and the Caribbean

    Business has been one of AmericaÔÇÖs corner stones in its rise of commerce power. In the over two hundred years of AmericaÔÇÖs history, we have learned, created, amended, and fixed laws that allow the different American states to do business.

    But doing business abroad can be different. There are different laws, customs, and cultures to take into account. Based on what part of the world we (as Americans) do business, we will experience friendliness, ambiguity, or even hatred. In order to do business outside of the United States, we must be aware of what it is like in those countries we wish to visit.
    Latin America, with no exception of Central American and Caribbean countries, has historically been characterized by political and economic instability. Up until the 20th century military dictatorships and civil wars were common in the region, which held back economic progress and development. However, with the arrival of the 21st century some of these threats have disappeared, opening the doors for a new era of economic progress and development.
    Central America represents today a center of investment opportunities, especially in countries such as Costa Rica and Panama, which have maintain a tendency of stability and prosperity in their respective fields. Despite of the previously mentioned history of conflict, there are many advantages to doing business in Central America. According to Sina Dubovoy, author of the article ÔÇ£Doing Business in Central AmericaÔÇØ the high unemployment rate in most Central American countries translates into cheap labor, which makes the region appealing for manufacturing purposes. Some other commonly exploited and growing sectors include tourism and the service industry.

    Another appealing tendency in Central American countries in the recent years is the continuous decrease in poverty levels. Dubovoy explains how ÔÇ£The gross domestic product (GDP) of all seven states rose in the 1990s and Central America experienced genuine economic revitalizationÔÇØ
    Finally, the welcoming nature of Central American countries towards American investment and the vastly knowledge of the English language certainly facilitates doing business in the region.
    However, aside from an understanding of the historical background of the region as well as its opportunities and challenges; taking into consideration its culture is equally important when considering business investments in the region.

    A very important characteristic of the region is its collectivist social pattern, in contrast to the individualistic social pattern that characterizes the American culture. Jennifer Teramoto Pedrotti defines collectivism as ÔÇ£a social model in which members are more invested in the interests of the group to which they belong than to their own individual interestsÔÇØ (The Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology, Collectivism). Teramoto further explains how in this social model cooperation is more valued than competition and the needs of the group are more important than individual ones.

    This sense of collectivism is extended to people┬┤s personal lives. ÔÇ£Do not be surprised to see Latin business executives intermixing their work environment with their ‘social-family life’ÔÇØ suggests intercultural trainer Matt MacL in his article Doing Business in Central and South Latin America.

    MacL also mentions another important characteristic of Central American culture: nepotism. ÔÇ£Family members and relatives are preferred when recruiting staffÔÇØ he explains. It is very common for young professionals to work in family businesses, in which the sense of collective loyalty predominates.

    The collectivist nature of Central American cultures and their respect for family businesses also promotes a high need for trust in business partners. MacL explains how ÔÇ£the pace of negotiations is slower in Latin America than in Europe, as is customary, some preliminary conversation is considered necessary before each meeting, since it allows the participants to become personally acquaintedÔÇØ. For this reason Latin American business executives combine social gatherings and business meetings very often, especially with foreign clients. Deals and partnerships are commonly discussed over dinner, and business house parties are frequently organized.
    Finally, a poor sense of punctuality and lack of interest in schedules also represents a difference between Central American and American cultures, which often generates conflicts, especially when it comes to deadlines.

    Let us continue on what business practices exist in the Caribbean, particularly Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Cuba.

    Doing business in the Caribbean is a great way to expand business and open new opportunities for further business opportunities because the islands are ports of distribution for the world.

    However, doing business in Caribbean can be both joyous and frightening. There is an abundance of natural resources and beautiful artistry. But how do we get involved in this business? In some places like Puerto Rico, business is pretty much the same as expected in the United States. Being that Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, business practices are very similar. Though people born in Puerto Rico pay Federal taxes on their income, Puerto Rico is still considered a foreign country per the United States Internal Revenue Code (IRC), but if a business is owned by a US citizen or a native born Puerto Rican, then taxation still applies. Most labor laws and Acts that apply in the United States also apply in Puerto Rico. Unlike some other Latin American countries where a standard work week is 48 hours, Puerto Rico employs a 40 hour work week with an 8 hour work day. If your production is based on hours work, this will assist you in determine future output and establish long term goals. Puerto Rico also adheres to the United States minimum wage salary; in this case minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Some of the other islands in the Caribbean have their own business laws and govern themselves a bit differently.

    Dominican Republic is also situated on an island called Hispaniola. It shares the western half of the island with the country of Haiti. According to Pellerano and Herrera, a Dominican law firm, the Dominican Republic has made it possible for foreign investors to invest in Dominican Republic by offering equality to both foreign and domestic investors. According to Dominican Labor code (Law No. 16-92 of May 29, 1992, Art. 147), a standard work week is 44 hours, with an 8 hour work day. At a minimum, 80% of the work force must be Dominicans, unless the specifics of the position cannot be filled by this quota. For those that want to do business in the Dominican Republic, salaries are based on the companyÔÇÖs annual net income. As of May 2011 the Dominican Labor Code has change to reflect these minimum wages. If a company exceeds 4 million Pesos (RD), roughly 102,564 USD, than the minimum monthly salary is RD$ 9,905 (254.62 USD). If the company earns over two million but less than four million RD$, then minimum wage is 6,810 RD$ (175.06 USD). A company earning less than two million RD$ will pay minimum monthly wages of 6,035 RD$ (155.14 USD). As you can see, the more the company anticipates in earning, the higher the minimum wages to its employees.

    In Cuba, things are a little different. Goods can be imported into Cuba only by state entities and by joint venture operations holding permits for the specific goods in question (Doing business in Cuba, May 2007). In order to do business in Cuba, your company must be part of a joint venture. What does this mean? It means that you cannot go into business in Cuba unless your company is a joint business with a local (Cuban) partner. Furthermore, companies must have established at least three (3) years of good trade relations before being allowed a presence on Cuban ground.

    These are some of the potential obstacles that can face a business owner who wishes to conduct business in the Caribbean area. There are also some other points of consideration when looking to these islands as future business venues, look into the various hurricane paths and make note that the political obstacles may not be your only problems in this Caribbean paradise.

    1) Which actions do you think should be taken by Central American governments to improve economic growth opportunities?
    2) Which cultural difference (for example: the collectivist social model, the nepotism, or the tendency to disregard schedules and deadlines) would you say differs the most from your culture?
    3) Do you think any of these cultural characteristics symbolize a threat for the development of the region? Which one and why?

  • 7.    Jesus Florez  |  April 29th, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Mexico [United Mexican States, Economic, Social, Political and Legal Aspects]

    We [Diego, Eric, Jesus, Juan] would like to further our work by offering you to comment on any of the following questions :
    Although the Mexican economy is definitely emerging, there are still serious issues that are holding it back. One issue in particular is corruption, as attested by the recent investigations concerning bribery on Mexican executives and businessmen. This is a major theme in many economies, Latin-American or otherwise, and is dealt with very differently from culture to culture. “Mordidas”, as Mexicans tend to call these petty bribes used to “get through the bureaucracy”, are seemingly a way of life, not only in Mexico, but in many other Latin American countries, and can sometimes have positive impacts on the economy when used in order to boost it (advancing trade negotiations for example).

    Our question : although bribery is morally incorrect and illicit, would Mexico’s overall economy and ease of negotiations actually improve if it fought to eliminate bribery altogether ?
    Source : The New York Times – “Attorney General in Mexico Will Investigate Wal-Mart”, Elisabeth Malkin, April 26, 2012
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/27/business/global/attorney-general-in-mexico-to-investigate-wal-mart.html?_r=1

    According to the first video we’ve shown, companies tend to weigh the opportunities and risks of doing business in Mexico against those of other countries, and seem to come to the conclusion that Mexico “is a good place to be”. One could say that one of the opportunities in Mexico are a cheap, hardworking labor force, but this is also true for Asian countries, especially China.

    A comparison of the two countries according to crime, performed by the website NationMaster.com, reveals that in general, Mexico tends to be far more criminally challenged than China. This however, hasn’t stopped Mexico from surpassing China as the number 1 manufacturer of TV sets, and stay very close behind China with regards to mobile phones and computers ; people continue to invest in Mexico, people believe that the opportunities outweigh the risks.

    Our question : What cultural aspect, if any, does Mexico possess that would make it (or its people) so attractive to foreign investment ?
    Source : NationMaster.com : http://www.nationmaster.com/compare/China/Mexico/Crime

  • 8.    Joey Bonura, Alberto Cohen, Carlos Levy, Alex Levin, Kyle Horak  |  April 30th, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Doing Business in Brazil

    Cultural Characteristics of Business in Brazil

    When doing business in Brazil, there are certain parameters of behavior that have to be followed in order to adapt to the Brazilian way of doing business. The following are some of the DOÔÇÖs and DONÔÇÖTs of business interactions in Brazil:
    ÔÇó DO schedule extra time in between meetings to allow for any additional time needed since they are often delayed or cancelled without warning.
    ÔÇó DO expect to spend a lot of time getting to know your Brazilian business counterparts before any business takes place.
    ÔÇó DO make eye contact as this shows you are paying attention, interested, and honest.
    ÔÇó DO expect a meal to take longer as it is always like a celebration.
    ÔÇó DO accept foods or drinks that you are offered during social or business occasions.
    ÔÇó DO expect to be interrupted. The Brazilians method of communication usually entails a lot of overlapping speech and people are not afraid to say what they think
    ÔÇó DONÔÇÖT rush business dealings with your Brazilian colleagues and avoid pressing for final decisions.
    ÔÇó DONÔÇÖT bring up topics of conversation such as corruption or deforestation as these are sensitive issues at the moment.
    ÔÇó DONÔÇÖT publicly criticize your Brazilian counterparts. If you need to tell them something negative, do so in private so they do not lose face or their pride in front of others.

    Greetings

    When talking about greetings in business culture in Brazil, we can say that handshakes are the most common practice of greeting between business colleagues. In more informal situations, men and women will tend to greet each other with one or two kisses on the cheek or briefly embrace each other. Also, when you meet someone for the first time, it is polite to say ÔÇ£muito prazerÔÇØ which means, my pleasure. Expressions such as ÔÇ£como vaiÔÇØ and ÔÇ£tudo bemÔÇØ are common forms of saying hello once you know someone. Brazilians like to be addressed by their title and surname before knowing the person, once the barrier is broken, first name is okay. Brazilians have a relaxed attitude towards time, and added to that, there are countless regulations that make the business process in Brazil take its time. That is why it is imperative to not rush this process since it is considered rude.

    Names and Titles

    In Brazil people are very relaxed and laid back. Their culture is more informal where everyone generally goes by their first names and donÔÇÖt use titles unless they are actually a doctor or an elder member of society. The way they name their children is very unique. They combine the names of the mother and father to make a completely new name. An example of this is Sam and Dolores; they would combine this and make the name Saolores. This shows just how Brazil is one of a kind compared to any other culture around the world.

    Hospitality and Entertainment

    In Brazil all they do is make sure that their visitors feel welcomed and have a sense of home when they visit the country. One of the ways they show you how they want you to feel welcome in their home is that they offer you tons of black coffee and food just to make you feel satisfied and pleased with your stay in their home. Customs in Brazil for peopleÔÇÖs free time include going to dinner in groups to restaurants or meeting up for drinks at a bar to get to know each other on a different level.

    Customs in Brazil vary from you being expected to show up late for a dinner invitation to how you cut your steak. In Brazil they enjoy gestures such as gifts before a dinner party to show that you are grateful for the invitation. If you forget to bring something, then most people will send flowers to the home of the host on the following day to show their gratitude. In Brazil they rarely use their hands to eat food so make sure you are careful and donÔÇÖt offend their culture with this.

    Appearance, Hygiene, and Dress

    Brazilians are very concerned with how they look, and this goes for both guys and girls. They constantly work out and they do whatever they can to look their best. So as a foreigner you will want to practice this culture as well. Brazilians will usually take at least two showers a day because of the heat and humidity. They are also very concerned with the look of their nails. For guys, while you are there you should constantly check your nails and make sure there is not any dirt under them and that they are trimmed short. Guys should also be clean-shaven with a good haircut. You could be perceived as dirty by not doing this. And for girls, your nails are allowed to be painted, but do not wear fake nails because this is perceived as tacky. Brazilian women also wear little to no make up during the day, because they like to look very natural. So it is a good idea for you to do the same.

    Brazilians dress very stylish. In the workplace men typically should wear a dark or light colored 2-piece suit. Your suit should fit you perfectly and have a tighter European style fit. For girls, Brazilian women will also wear suits to work, but they will sometimes dress more casual in the hotter areas of the country. For a more casual office look, girls will often wear tank tops and sandals. But as a foreigner you should dress more formal your first day and then you can adapt your look to the other people in the office the second day.

    Outside of the workplace the dress is very casual. You can go out to eat in khaki shorts or jeans and a polo. But this can depend on where you are going so sometimes you may need to dress more formal.

    Gifts and Bribes

    In Brazil you donÔÇÖt need to give a gift to establish a good business relationship. But if you really want to give them something they will happily accept it. When thinking of a gift you want to make it really personal for them. Some good ideas would be nice whiskey, wine, a popular perfume, or something unique from your country. You shouldnÔÇÖt get them something extremely expensive because this could be considered as a bribe and that might offend them. Its better not to offer anything that could be considered a bribe, but for things like this and other questions you should hire a Despachante. A Despachante is someone that knows the legal system in Brazil very well. They can help you work around many of the obstacles that you could be faced with.

    Time

    The idea of time in Brazil is very much as in the rest of Latin America. Meetings will usually start 5-20 minutes late. The background for why BrazilianÔÇÖs seem to have a flexible notion of time is related to their Polychronic notion of time. The basic definition of Polychronic time is where one chooses to do many activities at once, instead of just one activity at a time. This is a practice that is rooted in a tradition, where in past rural cultures, they had all the time in the world, so there was no need to worry about the time. In these rural cultures, it was all about relationships. (Cohen, 2004)

    Also, Brazilians are very relationship-oriented, so for them it is ok to be late for the next meeting because they are having an engaging conversation at the end of the previous meeting. Furthermore, Brazilian people, like many Latin countries, are not as concerned with time as people in UK and US. In UK and US it is all about making the best use of time, but in Brazil, for instance, it is about enjoying the relationships. They take precedence over keeping on schedule. (Ulijn, 1995)

    As for personal events, it is normal to arrive late. In fact, it is not accepted practice to arrive on time or early to an event, it is more accepted to arrive around 15 min late, but no later.

    Communication

    As in other neighboring countries, meetings in Brazil start with non-business talk, and topics range from family to sports to current events. For them, business is about cultivating personal relationships first, before getting down to business. Trust is a key characteristic in Brazil business relationships, and it is only through these personal conversations that it can be developed

    Even though Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, there are many other dialects. Furthermore, people use the language of their ancestors, such as German, Italian, and Polish. As for English, the international language of business, it is not spoken so much, except for business settings. It will definitely be necessary to have at least a basic grasp of Portuguese phrases when getting around the country.

    Like in many countries around the world where there is over-population and shortage of space, in Brazil, the concept of personal space is much different than in the U.S., for example. In Brazil, people walking around you can brush up against you, or even bump into you, and this is not cause for concern. It is perfectly normal here.

    Due to the many languages and the fact that Brazilian people speak very quickly, you see a lot of hand-gestures. This is a way to make communication more efficient. Here are a few examples:
    ÔÇó Do not use the sign associated with “OK” in many parts of the world. (The circled thumb and forefinger). This is very vulgar in Brazil. (Herrington, 1998)
    ÔÇó Pulling at the ear lobe means that something is very good. (Herrington, 1998)
    ÔÇó Pretending to polish your fingernails against your chest means that danger is near. (Herrington, 1998)
    ÔÇó Even though the textbook alludes to the slap of the fist to the open palm as vulgar, it can also have a sexual connotation. Or, in locker-room context, it can also mean ÔÇ£Go getÔÇÖem!ÔÇØ (Herrington, 1998)
    An interesting observation is that Brazilian people ÔÇ£tend to say what they think the other person wants to hear.ÔÇØ (Kelm & Risner, 2007) This can mean that a Brazilian may not choose to tell the truth immediately. Instead, he/she will try to appease the person first. This is not necessarily a bad intention; it is more of a need to do what is best for the other person. But, obviously this type of avoidance of directness can be very detrimental consequences for certain situations. So, it is important to always keep this in mind when interacting with Brazilians in critical situations. You may have to press a Brazilian person to tell you the real truth. In other words, you may not be able to settle for the first answer you receive.

    The writing style is a reflection of the Brazilian indirect style of communication. Due to the polychronic time-management style of Brazilians, their writing style sometimes is confusing because they do not follow a linear line of thought. They digress a lot. So, combining their indirectness and divergent style makes for a very difficult task sometimes of making sense out of communications from Brazilians. They are very high-context, meaning that they will go round and round when expressing themselves, instead of being more concise.

    As for eye contact when communicating, Brazilians will usually maintain really good eye contact when speaking. The exception would be when you have a lower-class person speaking to a higher-class person. The lower-class person will usually look down. This is not disrespect. Actually, it is exactly the opposite. It is deference to the higher-class individual.

    In conclusion, for the person from Germany, UK, and the US, communicating with Brazilians may be very frustrating. They do not respect time schedules, are sometimes indirect and even insincere, and also speak in a very divergent manner. Also, they like to spend too much time with relationship building instead of getting down to business.

    How would you handle the following situations:
    A Brazilian is standing very closely to you while speaking?
    Constant interruptions when communicating with a Brazilian?

    A womanÔÇÖs roll in business

    There are many different rolls that woman plays inside the business world.
    Often times women take these roles because they are more sophisticated and talented than men in these specific areas. However itÔÇÖs becoming more and more common to see woman in positions of leadership or authority that normally would be taken by men. Often times I believe that a womanÔÇÖs roll in business is under estimated. Woman and men are both key components to each individual business and add unique aspects. I believe that often woman are sometimes not respected as leaders the way men are. I believe that this is very common when women find themselves in a position of leadership. In my personal opinion it has to do with the culture. Women have many rolls in business; although I believe that women in general have great talent for creativity and balance. I believe that in this day and age women are starting to become more independent and break free from the pressure of society. ItÔÇÖs because of this that you see more women climbing the corporate ladder.

    I believe that the roll of women hasnÔÇÖt finished changing and that there are still many new characteristic changes to be seen.

    Negotiating in Brazil

    Negotiating in Brazil or in any country for this matter, you should always do research on the culture. Brazilian culture like any culture can take offence to things that you say and or do depending on your culture. So when going to an unfamiliar country for business, it is always recommended that you research the language spoken and the culture that follows it. The Language in Brazil is Portuguese. Often foreigners mistake Brazil for a Spanish speaking country and this could come across as an insult. In business itÔÇÖs always important to gain the trust of the client. In Brazil trust is a very important factor and Brazilians prefer to meet in an informal location before discussing business. This will allow them to gain more trust and get an idea of home to conduct business. When doing business in a foreign country with foreigners, itÔÇÖs always important to know the law. In Brazil they have a Civil Law system. The majority of the world uses this law system except for the United States. The United States uses Common Law, which is very different. So when doing business please keep this in mind.

    Remember that the law generally protects itÔÇÖs country in the case of contracts. My advice for doing business in Brazil is to get to know the culture and the Law. These two factors are probably the most important.

    References:
    Kelm, O. R., & Risner, M. E. (2007). Brazilians working with americans : Cultural case studies//brasileiros que trabalham com americanos . Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

    Herrington, E. (1998). Passport brazil: your pocket guide to brazilian business, customs . San Rafael, CA: World Trade Press.

    Ulijn, J. (1995). The anglo-germanic and latin concepts of politeness and time in cross-atlantic business communication: from cultural misunderstanding to management success. Hermes, Journal of Linguistics.

    Cohen, R. (2004). Negotiating across cultures: International communication in an interdependent world (rev. ed.). Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace.

    eHow. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/how_2228058_follow-brazilian-table-manners.html

    Doing business in brazil. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.maria-brazil.org/business_in_brazil.htm

    http://www.ehow.com/list_6751181_brazillian-business-protocols.html
    http://www.communicaid.com/access/pdf/library/culture/doing-business-in/Doing%20Business%20in%20Brazil.pdf
    http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/encyclopedia/Assem-Braz/Brazil-Doing-Business-in.html

  • 9.    MehmetSait Dogan  |  April 30th, 2012 at 4:48 am

    Hello everyone,
    After reading about South American Culture it encourages me to visit this continent especially the highest point in South America is Cerro Aconagua in the Andes Mountains in the country of Argentina. Of course I would like to do business with South Americans especially in Argentina because it is the second largest country in South America and the eight largest in the world, Argentina is a risky and difficult place in which to do business, but it still very much a land of opportunity. The scale of the agriculture opportunity (including fisheries) in this market is staggering and if the Government situation improves then the potential upside is enormous. South Americans way of business similar to Middle East it has become a must for regions like the Middle East and South America, which are both emerging as economic powers in the new world market, to interact, exchange, and develop ties in order to gain the maximum from each otherÔÇÖs resources. The Middle East is blessed with oil reserves, while South America has heavy industries, factories and manufacturing units as well as large oil reserves, all of which have help make it an important player in world trade. In the last few years the economies of the Middle East and South America have achieved significant results in the fields of industrial production, construction, and service as well as in the improvement of investment atmosphere. Both regions have rational export and import development plans, which include growth targets for average export and import turnover each year.
    Best regards
    THANK YOU

  • 10.    MehmetSait Dogan  |  April 30th, 2012 at 5:23 am

    Hello everyone,
    Economic growth is the force behind improved living standards and increased opportunities, while fast economic growth can actually have a negative impact socially and economically.
    Fast economic growth provides incentives for banks to extend more credit than during periods of average growth; it also encourages central banks to loosen their monetary policies by lowering interest rates to extend more credit. The Central America countries must design and implement strategies of diversification of the maquiladora development process in industrial sectors that require greater added value and technological innovation. Maquiladoras as an instrument to achieve economic growth is a diversification dilemma in terms that although they create jobs and contribute to economic growth, the Central American governments and industry must develop unify criteria, to design strategies and mechanisms to facilitate the negotiation processes, the Central American countries have to formulate and implement strategies to diversify the maquiladora industry aimed to create industries involving higher added value and technological innovation processes, such as automotive or aviation industries. For the future success of the maquila, it is important to strengthen technological innovation to create competitive advantages in the industry.
    I think that the tendency to disregard schedules and deadlines differs the most from my culture.
    I think that that the tendency to disregard schedules and deadlines symbolize a threat for the development of the region because it will let people lose the trust and respect between each otherÔÇÖs and let people be lazy.
    Best regards
    Thank you

  • 11.    Roy Haddad  |  April 30th, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Hello Everyone,

    After reading your explanation about the countries in the Central American territory, I understand that it is a little tough to work there and open a business. Specially in Cuba, where you have to cooperate with another Cuban company and that this company has to have 3 years of good trade relations. Cuba is a very beautiful country, my dad went there and told me so. What can be changed economically for those Central American countries is that they should be less tough on the companies that are opening there and let the wages be more high than the usual. So they need to increase the trade market and the investment in the regions. For that it will come to economic growth of the Central American countries.

    Well I don’t know a lot about the business in my country because I do not tend to live here and have my business here also. But I can say that the wages are better in Lebanon than in those Central American countries. I mean poverty is in those countries where as here there is no such a thing more or less. But still the economy in those countries is not letting the people have a recession in them because if you put high salaries then you will be sure that an inflation is going to happen. In Lebanon we are having an inflation but it is at a very slow rate.

    Thank you.
    Best regards.

  • 12.    Esther Bezalel  |  April 30th, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Hello Everyone!
    Just wanted to share something.
    Any who is living in Panama should check out the International Film Festival that is taking place from April 26th until March 2nd. They are showing movies from different parts of the world, especially from Latin America like Panama, Cuba, Argentina, just to name a few. They are showing the movies in Cinemark in Multicentro and also in el Casco Antiguo. I find it relevant to our topic because its a way to understand the different cultures and also enjoy some amazing films. Yesterday I saw a Cuban movie called Juan de Los Muertos, and it was completely awesome. They made so many references about how their situation is over there with a comedy twist to it.
    If any of you are interested you can find all the information and the movies schedule on their site: http://www.iffpanama.org/es/horarios-de-proyecciones

    Also I have question, do we need to post our information about our topics here or on the other group discussions?

  • 13.    Esther Bezalel  |  April 30th, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Ok ignore my question, I just saw we are posting them here

  • 14.    Lorette Calix  |  April 30th, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    All fixed, Dale. For some reason your posts were going to spam. I released them from the spam folder now.

  • 15.    Gretel Troetsch  |  April 30th, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Hello Roy,

    Thank you for your response

    Actually, aside from some countries like Cuba who are still suffering from a military dictatorship, Central America and the Caribbean is a great place to invest. Economies are now growing and are becoming more stabilized. Actually, as you mentioned, many countries do encourage investment, both internationally and locally. Panama, for example, has a really strong banking system that allows us to support many small to medium companies grow and develop.
    While it is true that there are factors, such as poverty and low wages that are holding back the economy, governments are trying to change those situations as much as they cant. We have to remember that many Central American countries are developing countries that might not have the capacity to make big changes too quickly. However, many countries like Panama are using a lot of their budget and investing on things such as infrastructure (we are just getting a subway system) which are means that will estimulate economic growth as well as develop the country.

  • 16.    MehmetSait Dogan  |  May 1st, 2012 at 1:28 am

    Hello everyone,
    Economic growth is the force behind improved living standards and increased opportunities, while fast economic growth can actually have a negative impact socially and economically.
    Fast economic growth provides incentives for banks to extend more credit than during periods of average growth; it also encourages central banks to loosen their monetary policies by lowering interest rates to extend more credit. The Central America countries must design and implement strategies of diversification of the maquiladora development process in industrial sectors that require greater added value and technological innovation. Maquiladoras as an instrument to achieve economic growth is a diversification dilemma in terms that although they create jobs and contribute to economic growth, the Central American governments and industry must develop unify criteria, to design strategies and mechanisms to facilitate the negotiation processes, the Central American countries have to formulate and implement strategies to diversify the maquiladora industry aimed to create industries involving higher added value and technological innovation processes, such as automotive or aviation industries. For the future success of the maquila, it is important to strengthen technological innovation to create competitive advantages in the industry.
    I think that the tendency to disregard schedules and deadlines differs the most from my culture.
    I think that that the tendency to disregard schedules and deadlines symbolize a threat for the development of the region because it will let people lose the trust and respect between each otherÔÇÖs and let people be lazy.
    Best regards
    Thank you

  • 17.    MehmetSait Dogan  |  May 1st, 2012 at 2:03 am

    Hello everyone,
    Mexico is after Brazil the second largest economy in Latin America. NAFTA was of particular importance for Mexico as it represented the first instance in which any developing nation entered into an economic arrangement with two major developed nations.
    Developing countries sign double taxation treaties (DTTs) in order to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI). There are reasons to presume that DTTs can increase FDI and the well known fact of increasing importance of foreign investment to developing countries and illustrates the growth of DTTs.
    Mexican business culture differs from any other in the Americas due to its unique history, governments should regulate good working conditions and enforce those regulations, Mexico government must provide good condition for foreign investors not by sportswear are produced by childrenÔÇÖs to reduce the cost to try to create an environment that is attractive to foreign investment. So it is valuable to encourage governments to pressure companies to take responsibility for their labor policies and ensure compliance.
    Thank you

  • 18.    MehmetSait Dogan  |  May 1st, 2012 at 2:24 am

    Hello everyone,
    When IÔÇÖm talking to a Brazilian I will maintain steady eye contact at all times, and it is considered impolite to break eye contact.
    People in Brazil stand closely in front of each other, even when talking. Brazilians are a gregarious people and as such they like proximity, but they have knowledge of the customs of other countries.
    It is normal for a conversation to be highly animated, with frequent interruptions, exclamations of ‘no!ÔÇÖ
    A tremendous amount of physical contact, this is very true as they really do listen and not pretend to listen, and don’t be alarmed if some of the interjections sound confrontational; this is simply a good natured way of expressing interest in what is being discussed.
    Thank you

  • 19.    Carrie Clark  |  May 1st, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Wow…It was really interesting reading your post, especially the do’s and don’ts of business interactions in Brazil. They are quite the opposite of what I’ve been exposed to. The North American way of doing business and conducting business interactions are on schedule, straight to the point, and effective. With regards to names and titles, typically in the U.S. you address someone by their last name and when the other person says for example, ÔÇ£call me BillÔÇØÔǪthen you call him by his first name. Regarding hospitality and entertainment; when someone invites you to their home in the U.S. you show up on time! It is very rude for you to accept an invitation and show up late, unless you are Latino (where it is common practice)ÔǪI tell my mother she is going to be late to her own funeral because it doesnÔÇÖt matter what the occasion is she is ALWAYS late. I still to this day donÔÇÖt understand why. If a Brazilian were standing very closely to me while speaking I would listen like with any conversation. Maybe I would nonchalantly step back a little just to make sure I canÔÇÖt smell the other personÔÇÖs breath or vice versa. Regarding constant interruptions I would listen to what that person has to say and politely say I would like to interject in order to state what I have to say with a smile on my face =)

  • 20.    Gretel Troetsch  |  May 1st, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Hi MehmetSait,

    I think you proposition of introducing the maquiladora industry to Central America is an interesting idea. For those who don┬┤t know, maquiladoras are companies that import duty-free materials that are going to be market outside the country and the term was originated in Mexico, so it is not an industry unknown to Latin American countries.
    Also, what you said about economic growth occurring rapidly it┬┤s true. It can be very dangerous for economies to grow fast in a short period of time because it generates inflation.

  • 21.    Esther Bezalel  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Hello Everyone!
    I found your post very insightful and helpful. You covered the cultural differences in Brazil in a very detailed and easy way to understand. I particularly liked a lot the Do’s and Dont’s and also the hand gesture part, it is very interesting how such a very common gesture like doing the “OK” sign with your hands can mean such a different thing, but then again I remember we all have different cultures, they might think the same for our meaning of the “OK” sign.
    Now, regarding to the questions asked in your post:
    “How would you handle the following situations:
    A Brazilian is standing very closely to you while speaking?
    Constant interruptions when communicating with a Brazilian?”

    I think that for Latin cultures, or at least in Panama, it is very alike to Brazilians in the aspects of how we see time as polychronic, that we are more affectionate towards people, we talk fast. So adapting to this situations I think won’t be hard at all, but we cannot forget there are also important differences that we need to take in account like the gestures and their dinner rituals. One of my best friends comes from a Brazilian household, his mother was born and raised there and for what I can gather they are very friendly persons, they are loud and aren’t afraid to speak their minds, she greeted me with two kisses, one in each cheek as you stated in your post, and she talked very close, moving her body and hands a lot. For people from other cultures, which are more laid back, they might feel as their personal space is been invaded and feel a bit awkward or overwhelm, but when they understand that’s just the way they act and express their friendliness it would be much easier for them to adapt, just as we have been discussing, the key is to learn about the cultures before hand.

  • 22.    Hector  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Another potential bad side effect of rapid financial growth is that it can divide the nation into various castes. When a large number of investors pour money into a developing nation, usually those leaders (political or otherwise) have a tendency to make sure that they come ahead (as compared to the rest of the nation) in these investments with foreigners. They in turn make sure that those close to them also enjoy these benefits, usually without a long range look at there own nations. In other words, let me take/make as much as I can and screw the rest of the country.

  • 23.    Hector  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I like how you wrote about the Brazilian culture and business climate. Are the annotations you made to a specific city or area? Is working in São Paulo going to be similar to working in Rio de Janeiro? Will the same customs apply? Are there differences someone needs to be aware of?

  • 24.    david  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Hello, everyone

    Mexico seems like a very remarkable country, I find it interesting that Mexico is doing well in manufacturing technology such as TV, mobile phones and computers. Does Mexico have any brand in particular or they manufacture for other country only?

    In addition as you said that family is the main focus for Mexicans and that business tend to be family owned and usually passed on to their children. This is very similar to the middle east usually families are the priority. I find this a good thing because family is what keeps the person in most cases strong and in most cases guide them to the right path.

    Thank you

    Mohammad Razoki
    Gorgio Moukarzel
    David Obeid

  • 25.    Diego Salvatierra  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Hello MehmetSait !
    Your input is very interesting, but I can’t tell if you’re answering one of our questions or just commenting on the overall aspects of Mexico’s economy and business culture.

    I imagine that the Double Taxation Treaties you’re mentioning are to allow for double taxation relief, not enforcement, because otherwise I don’t see how they could help foment foreign investment.
    This could indeed be one of the ways that Mexico remains a competitive choice for investors, but I believe that Asian countries tend to offer the same fiscal advantages, if not more.
    China in particular has its Special Economic Zones, such as Shenzhen, where foreign investors enjoy very interesting tax incentives and other free market oriented policies.
    Other Asian countries, including India, Pakistan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines have also implemented their versions of SEZ’s and Free-Trade Zones allowing them to attract enormous amounts of foreign capital.

    I therefore believe that although you are certainly right about Mexico’s DTT’s helping attract foreign investment, there must be something else altogether that sets Mexico apart from other nations and, even with its relatively high risk factor regarding crime, attracts additional foreign investment.

    This is, of course, only my opinion, and I would very much like to know what you think ! :-)

    Kind Regards,

    Diego

  • 26.    Luis Camarena  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    The action the central american governments should take to get a better economy must be the overall, to get a better treatment for the tourism, so it will no have a bad effect on the economy from this side.
    Maybe bringing more manufacturers company and this way we can decrease the the unenployment rate!

  • 27.    Jesus Florez  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Guys, what an interesting information. There were so many aspects I didnÔÇÖt know about the Brazilian culture. As we all may know, Brazilian economic is playing an very important role within Latin America, boosting many sectors in other countries. In fact, they just unseat to Italy as the as sixth largest Economy in the world. Based on this, IÔÇÖm pretty sure they found out the way of doing business in a better way. Another important fact I would like to add is that they were award to organize the next FIFA Soccer World Cup. When FIFA allow countries to submit they candidature, the scrutiny and standards should are the highest required. This event will also inject much more growing to the Brazilian economy.

  • 28.    BLANCA ABREGO  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Hey everyone,
    Here is what I think from the questions you posted!

    1.After reading about South American Culture, would you be willing to relocate there? Why or why not? Explain your reasoning.
    I would, since most of what you mentioned is very similar to Panama, where I live. We share same holidays, celebrations, and most important to me, same language except for Brazil, but I can understand Portuguese if you speak slowly, and geographically we are relatively close.
    2. Would you do business with South Americans? Why or why not?
    Actually, the company that I work for does a lot of business with South America, such as Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru. My personal experience has been satisfying. South Americans are very easy going. I guess because our culture is almost the same so itÔÇÖs easier when you connect with someone that is more or less the same as you are.

  • 29.    Jesus  |  May 3rd, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Hi David,

    Thank you very much for reply and taking part of your valuable time reading our work. I havenÔÇÖt taken a time to say hello to you guys in the middle east. IÔÇÖm Jesus from Panama. I have to say that I like very much your culture and language and I hope to learn some additional aspects from you all. Speaking frankly, before to start this little research, several of us were not aware of all these aspects about Mexico which in fact I was kind of surprised when I realized that. Doing some research, I didnÔÇÖt find any particular brand the manufacturer regarding electronics. Mostly, multinational dedicated to the technological, set their assembly centers in Mexico. For instance, most of the blackberry distribute along Latin America, are assembled in Mexico. There are quite a few recognized Mexican brands but most are food, liquor and services. As regards the family structure, in think that in most of Latin America countries, families tends to be more unit, and members looking forward to take care each other.

    Best regards,

  • 30.    Mireille Harfouche  |  May 3rd, 2012 at 5:44 am

    Hello

    I really loved reading your post on Brazil… It is very interesting and found it very similar to Lebanon in Names and titles, time, gifts, the way they dress, everything… In Lebanon people are never on time and their excuse is always traffic :)
    If a Brazilian is standing very closely to me while speaking I would try my best to keep eye contact with him/her since its considered respect and I believe it is.
    Moreover, if I get constant interruptions when dealing with a Brazilian it will not very much make me angry since I will try to understand that this how they are and not because they are being disrespectful to me because this is how it is in Lebanon as well. Once again, I really enjoyed your post.
    Thank you

    Mireille

  • 31.    Mohammad Razoki  |  May 3rd, 2012 at 6:06 am

    Hello,
    First the project is very interesting. Second, i have a question, if a foreign company likes to open business in Mexico what are the rules and regulation that the government put toward such international businesses?
    Thanks
    Kindest regards
    Mohammad Razoki (Iraq Team)

  • 32.    Mohammad Razoki  |  May 3rd, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Dear colleges,
    Your project is really interesting since you cover all the aspects that anyone need to open business there.
    Kindest regards
    Mohammad Razoki ( Iraq Team )

  • 33.    Carrie Clark  |  May 3rd, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Hi MehmetSait,

    I really enjoyed reading your post. Since you are interested in doing business in Argentina there are several things you should know prior to doing business in Argentina. Argentines are tough negotiators. Concessions will not come quickly or easily. Good relationships with counterparts will shorten negotiations. Contracts are lengthy and detailed. A contract is not final until all of its elements are signed. Any portion can be re-negotiated. Get everything in writing. An Argentine contact is essential to wading through government bureaucracy. Be punctual for business appointments, but prepare to wait thirty minutes for your counterpart, especially if you are meeting an important person. The pace of business in Argentina is slower than in the United States. A meeting that is going well could last much longer than intended, even if it means postponing the next engagement. Personal relationships are important and must be developed before business is done. Argentines often need several meetings and extensive discussion to make deals. Decisions are made at the top. Try to arrange meeting with high-level personnel. Guests at a meeting are greeted and escorted to their chairs. The visiting senior executive is seated opposite the Argentine senior executive. During business meetings, sustain a relaxed manner, maintain eye contact and restrict the use of gestures. DonÔÇÖt take a hard sell approach. Be prepared for a certain amount of small talk before getting down to business. Make appointments through a high-level person. Your Argentine contact can help with this. Confirm meetings one week in advance. (http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/argentina.htm)

  • 34.    Carrie Clark  |  May 3rd, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Hi Blanca,

    I’m glad you have had satisfying experiences working with South Americans. As you mentioned business relations in South America are very similar to Panama’s way of doing business. I agree with you when you say that it’s easier to “connect” with someone that is more or less the same as you with regards to culture. What kinds of difficulties do you think people from the U.S. would have to overcome in order to conduct successful business interactions with South Americans?

  • 35.    BLANCA ABREGO  |  May 3rd, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Hey guys!
    I enjoyed reading your paper about Mexico. I have been to Mexico several times and I love it. People are very kind and humble.
    While reading, I noticed that you mentioned that Mexico’s education is not that good, and that he government had implemented certain methods to improve it. I believe and insist that education is key to success. The process of being educated develops in you the capacity to think critically.
    So, apart from the methods the government implemented, what would you think can be another possible effective method?

  • 36.    BLANCA ABREGO  |  May 3rd, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Hello guys ,
    I found your essay very useful and educational. My family does a lot of business with Brazil, so I kind of had an idea of what it is like. I also have family that is from Brazil, but currently living here in Panama. They are very easy going and nice. Their culture is very similar to ours, and I can totally feel comfortable with them in any moment.
    Definitely I learned a lot more by reading this. You mentioned under gifts and bribes that you should not make too expensive gifts because then they will be considered as a bribe, and that gifts should be as personal as possible. Can you give me a more deep example of what can be considered a bribe in Brazil?
    I liked that you also mention womenÔÇÖs role in business. And as in most cultures, womenÔÇÖs position tends to be under men, but as you said it is about time for things to change.

  • 37.    BLANCA ABREGO  |  May 3rd, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Hey Carrie,
    I think that Americans should imitate the South American ÔÇ£easy-goingÔÇØ way. I know that people in the US are very formal and down to business. When doing business with South Americans, they would want to go more slowly and perhaps get to know each other beforehand.
    IÔÇÖm pretty sure another obstacle for Americans is the language. When doing business with a country that speaks another language than yours you must know at least some of the language in order to show respect or be charismatic to them. ItÔÇÖs important to have a translator with you, many business mistakes have been made because of language misconceptions.

  • 38.    Joey Bonura  |  May 3rd, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Hey Everyone,
    After reading your article about South American culture, I would be willing to relocate there. Since I’m currently living in Panama, it seems like the South American culture shares some of the same cultures as here. It’s interesting how Portugal has had such a huge impact on the countries there.
    I would do business with South Americans. I think that as long as you know what to expect, you can be successful doing business there. I thought it was interesting that in Venezuela they prefer to set up business meetings 2 weeks in advance. That seems to be different from the way other Latin Americans do business.
    I think the importance of time is the most similar to Panama where I am currently studying. At first the time schedule can be frustrating. But its interesting how I have adapted to this type of thinking as well. I just have to automatically expect something to start 15 to 30 minutes late and work my schedule around that. And if its something really important to be on time for you just need to emphasize that and people will make the effort to be there when needed.

  • 39.    Alberto Cohen  |  May 4th, 2012 at 11:16 am

    One country I would be willing to relocate to would be Chile. It is one of the great success stories economically. But, I don’t know much about their business culture style. I know that for the most part, Chilean business dealings are quite sophisticated, due to the influence of the American economist Milton Friedman.
    Does someone know more about Chile in terms of their business culture?

  • 40.    Alberto Cohen  |  May 4th, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Carrie, in terms of politely interjecting during a conversation, I would only say that it depends on the circumstance. Believe me, at times you may just have to do as they do and just interrupt in order to be heard. And you may have to speak very quickly and loudly and be ready to fight off interruptions.

  • 41.    Alberto Cohen  |  May 4th, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Hello,
    I would agree that such lateness is detrimental to business. I may be hispanic, but I do not share in this attitude towards punctuality.
    I feel that in terms of cultural clashes, the best course of action is to try and do what is best for the situation.
    To do something wrong just because it is in your culture should never be an excuse.
    “Oh, I will just be late because it is acceptable here.” No, I do not accept this. It should be about politeness.

  • 42.    Fadi El Hakim  |  May 4th, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    First off before I arrive to the text I would like to comment about the videos. The first video gave evidence of how Mexico isnÔÇÖt exactly how it is thought to be. Many people would see Mexico as a place of violence. Joseph Tripodi explained an interesting point about the challenges and issues face in Mexico, which I believe is normal in any city all over the world. Then John Farrell stated the case of how the homicide rate of New York is higher then Mexico, which I found to be very interesting. Lastly Jon Rice toped it all by saying that Mexico is a good place to be. These facts are all new to me and honestly opened up my eyes a lot to a different side of Mexico.

    The second video was AMAZING which showed the beauty of Mexico. It really took me inside and gave me a new perspective to it. I never thought of how beautiful Mexico is and honestly I would really like to visit it.

    After I read the essay I really enjoyed how in Mexico family is of much importance. I believe in the exact same thing because at the end it is family that is going to stand by you. In addition, it was nice to know of how Mexicans deal with time. How they take their time to fully analyze all possibilities. In order to get something right you do need time and mainly patience.

    Regards,
    Fadi Antoine El Hakim

  • 43.    Fadi El Hakim  |  May 4th, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Hello everyone,

    It is really interesting how you started you essay. I really enjoyed how you started with the DOÔÇÖs and DONÔÇÖTs of business interactions in Brazil. I also enjoyed how you directly started to speak of the people. Before going anywhere itÔÇÖs always best to have a full understanding of the people. You should always know how to treat them by not disrespecting them in any way. My cousin has been to Brazil and I can say that most of what I am reading I have already heard about Brazilian people. My cousin told me of how relaxed they are and of how they are concerned with the way they look, amongst many other things. It seems like a very interesting place and I hope someday to visit.

    Regards,
    Fadi Antoine El Hakim

  • 44.    Fadi El Hakim  |  May 4th, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Hello,

    ItÔÇÖs really interesting to get a general description of Latin America. A description of how they engage in their everyday lives. The languages and religion they speak and follow. How they respect in their family and are so easy going with time.

    For me to relocate, I wouldnÔÇÖt. Instead I would definitely like to visit Latin America. The reason as to why I wouldnÔÇÖt relocate is because right now am not fully equipped to move out. But I am looking forward to moving to another country in the future.

    Seeing as to how relaxed in time Latin Americans are I would definitely do business with them. But what I wouldnÔÇÖt accept is if they do not take things seriously and try to cheat me.

    Well, I do know someone who is very close to me who owns a business in Lebanon. He told me that the people here donÔÇÖt just take their time, but actually take their time to pay. To make things even worse is that these people that take sooooooooooo long to pay are his close friends.

  • 45.    Carrie Clark  |  May 4th, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Hi Blanca,

    I understand when you say you think that Americans should imitate the South American “easy-going” way, however, I believe there should be a compromise…there needs to be a middle point. After small talk and introductions I think they should commence with the topic at hand, after all it is a business meeting not a Sunday picnic. I do agree completely with getting to know who you’re doing business with before the meeting starts.

    Many North Americans nowadays speak at least two languages. They realize the importance of knowing more than one language especially if we’re referring to businessmen and women. If I were travelling to a foreign country I would make sure (before hand) that there are others that understand English and/or I would have a translator. I can see how many mistakes can be made or things can be misconstrued when two people don’t speak the same language.

  • 46.    Carrie Clark  |  May 4th, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Hi Joey,

    South American culture is very similar to Panama. Just like almost any new environment I believe it’s important to really learn about how to conduct business prior to doing it. There may be many similarities between South America and Panama but every country has their own way of doing business and it’s good to know beforehand. I too was very frustrated when I moved to Panama and realized when someone would tell you to be somewhere at a certain time they would show up almost an hour later. The same goes for making dr. appointments, I would schedule an appointment for 5pm and the dr. would show up after that time…I would think to myself, “what’s the whole point of making an appointment?” Living in Panama has made me learn how to be more patient. What I tend to do when I have a meeting is that I show up early in order to set the tone that punctuality is very importantÔǪhopefully trying to shift the localÔÇÖs paradigm.

  • 47.    Carrie Clark  |  May 4th, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    For the globetrotting business traveler, doing business abroad brings with it cross cultural communication challenges. Understanding and appreciating a country’s business culture, protocol and etiquette is important in establishing good business relationships.

    This guide to doing business in Chile offers some basic tips on the above mentioned areas such as business culture and etiquette. It is not intended to summarize all ‘doing business tips’ nor meant to stereotype. It simply highlights some key areas for consideration when doing business in Chile.

    Doing Business – Meeting and Greeting
    When meeting someone in Chile and handshake is customary. You may see women patting each other on the right forearm or shoulder rather than shaking hands. When meeting large groups, it is good etiquette to shake hands with all those present.

    When addressing people start formal and wait for an invitation to go informal. Address people by their surnames and Mr, Mrs or Miss. Most Hispanics have two surnames, one from the father and one from the mother. Only the father’s is usually used.

    Doing Business – Gestures
    In Chile people leave little space between each other when interacting. Don’t be surprised if the person you are speaking with places a hand on your shoulder when talking with you. Try not to step away or appear uncomfortable.

    Eye contact is important in Chile as it conveys trust, sincerity and interest.

    In Chile, slapping your right fist into your left (open) palm is obscene; an open palm with the fingers separated means ‘stupid.

    Doing Business – Entertaining
    Business entertaining usually takes place at hotels or restaurants. If you are the one inviting them you should pick up the bill. Arrange for payment with the establishment before the meal or meeting as this will help avoid a lengthy debate as to who should pay. If you are the guest, it may be polite to offer to pay although realistically you would not be allowed to do so. In such cases, offer to reciprocate and ensure you do.

    If you are invited to a person’s home in Chile, it is good etiquette to send flowers or chocolates to the hostess in advance. If you wish to convey your thanks after the meal, do so by phone rather than in writing.

    Doing Business – Business Meetings and Negotiating
    Appointments should be made a few weeks prior to arrival in Chile. January and February are the summer holidays so try and avoid them.

    Establishing trust and connecting as people is fundamental to successful business relationships. An initial visit to Chile should always be used to build rapport and show who you are. Conversation can then gently be steered towards the purpose of your visit.

    Honor plays a vital role in Chilean society. Never criticize people in public or cause embarrassment to anyone. Stick to your word because otherwise you will be seen as untrustworthy.

    Chileans negotiate in a serious and straight talking manner. Be upfront but not overbearing. Hard sell tactics or pressure never works. Always be prepared to compromise as this shows you value the relationship more than the financial aspects of the deal.

    Doing Business in Chile
    The above examples are a few pointers one can take into consideration when doing business in Chile. They are simply meant as a safety-net for those doing business there to help avoid misunderstandings and promote better communication. It is also important to bear in mind that in life no two people are the same. The same rule applies to Chileans, so always use common sense first and foremost.

    (http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/etiquette/doing-business-chile.html)

  • 48.    Carrie Clark  |  May 4th, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Alberto,

    I take it you have had business interactions with Brazilians, it seems like you’re speaking from experience =) I have not had the pleasure of working with Brazilians (yet) but I do have several Brazilian friends so I was basing my comments on what I have learned thus far with regards to interacting and communicating with them. Also, my friends live in the U.S. so maybe they have learned how to take a breath after a period.

  • 49.    MehmetSait Dogan  |  May 5th, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Dear Carrie,
    Thank you for your explanation about Argentina.

  • 50.    MehmetSait Dogan  |  May 5th, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Dear Jesus,
    The houses in Mexico are made of poor materials like tin, cardboard, and damaged stones, do you agree that the government must help poor people to avoid this kind of houses, and also do you think that the government solution that are taking subways to go to places and taking a train will help to decrease the traffic?
    What the government must do to not allow people in Mexico sell stuff on the sidewalks?
    Thank you

  • 51.    Alberto Cohen  |  May 5th, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Hi Carrie,
    My brazilian friends are mellow, except when arguing soccer with Argentina.
    As for business, it can be civilized or not,depending on the circumstance.
    Sometimes they don’t stop to take a breath.

  • 52.    Alberto Cohen  |  May 5th, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Hi Esther,
    Thanks for the post.
    Agreed, Panama and Brazil share similarities.
    The hand gesture part not so much because they have so many more.
    Do you wave your hands when you speak? Here in Panama, some people do it and it can be seen as improper. I totally do it, and sometimes I am told that it distracts.
    You?

  • 53.    Alberto Cohen  |  May 5th, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Hi Mireille,
    I feel interruptions are unproductive. Isnt this something that culture should improve on?

  • 54.    Alberto Cohen  |  May 5th, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Hi Carrie,
    Certainly some examples of Panamanian punctuality are frustrating. But, some are cool. For example, I like how laid back things are with respect to dinner plans for example. Here, it’s like “around 8 or 9 pm”. It’s cool because you can be relaxed about it. I laugh because my Canadian friend has not made the transition and he gets mad all the time.

  • 55.    Giorgio Moukarzel  |  May 5th, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Dear Mexico Team,

    I heard 2 days ago on our local news that there are about 800,000 Lebanese people in Mexico, so in which section do you think that the Lebanese people are affecting the most?

    Thank you,

    Giorgio Moukarzel

  • 56.    Diego Salvatierra  |  May 5th, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Hello Mohammad,

    Starting a business in Mexico takes a certain amount of time and capital.

    Here is a brief summary of the initial steps required to start a business. This research was conducted by the World Bank in their Doing Busi:ness Database, if you’d like any more information, you can look at the following pdf link : http://www.doingbusiness.org/~/media/FPDKM/Doing%20Business/Documents/Profiles/Country/MEX.pdf – the following table is located in pages 21-22

    1)
    Obtain the authorization of using the company name online and file the draft deed of incorporation with the notary online. The applicant can obtain authorization of using the company name online from the following website http://www.tuempresa.gob.mx. After the name is reserved, the entrepreneur can choose the notary public that will grant the deed of incorporation and then file the draft deed of incorporation online to the notary. The notary informs the entrepreneur by email of the appointment date to sign the deed of incorporation.
    Time to Complete : 1 day
    Cost to Complete : MXN 965

    2)
    Sign the deed of incorporation before a notary public, obtain Tax Registry Number (RFC) and file online the deed of incorporation with the Public Register of Commerce. If the notary public drafts or provides expert advice on the company bylaws, notary fees are generally high, from MXN 5,000 to MXN 11,000. The company charter and bylaws must be drafted before appearing before a notary public. Certain notaries in Mexico City have signed an agreement with the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (Secretar├¡a de Hacienda y Cr├®dito P├║blico through the Sistema de Administraci├│n Tributaria, SAT) to grant the tax registration number. The notary who issues the tax registration number must also issue the deed of incorporation. The notary files the notarized deed of incorporation with the Public Registry of Commerce through the online portal – tuempresa.gob.mx – and obtain the tax number online as well.
    Time to Complete : 2-3 days
    Cost to Complete : MXN 10500 (notary fees)+ MXN 1520 (registration fees)
    It usually takes the notary 2-3 days to review the documents and process the final incorporation deed for execution by the relevant parties.

    3)
    Register with the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) The company must register with the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) and the National WorkersÔÇÖHousing Fund Institute (INFONAVIT) and open individual retirement savings accounts for employees. The registration is conducted before the IMSS delegation (delegaci├│n) in the companyÔÇÖs jurisdiction. On average, the delegations take 2ÔÇô5 days but some take a week or longer.
    Time to Complete : 2-5 days
    Cost to Complete : No Charge.

    4)
    Register with the local tax administration (Secretar├¡a de Finanzas del Gobierno del Distrito Federal) for payroll tax. The company must register with the local tax administration after registering with the IMSS. The local office can be found at http://www.finanzas.df.gob.mx. The tax registration number and the companyÔÇÖs postal code are required to register.
    Time to Complete : 1 day
    Cost to Complete : No Charge.

    5)
    Notify the local government (Delegaci├│n) online of the opening ofa mercantile establishment. The notice of opening a mercantile establishment is fully completedonline through the website http://www.sedeco.df.gob.mx. For low risk activities, the notification record is received automatically in an email.
    Time to Complete : 1 day
    Cost to Complete : No Charge.

    6)
    Register with the National Business Information Registry (Sistema de Information Empresarial, SIEM). Mandatory registration with the National Business Information Registry (Sistema de Information Empresarial, SIEM) has been in effect since January 1997. The company will be registered with the specific chamber corresponding to its corporate purpose or activities. The cost varies with the number of employees and the companyÔÇÖs activities as shown below:

    Fees for industry related activities (maximum fees; MXN $)
    - 6 or more employees $ 670
    - 3 to 5 employees $ 350
    - Up to 2 employees $ 150
    Fees for commercial and services related activities (maximum fees; MXN $)
    - 4 or more employees $ 640
    - 3 o less employees $ 300
    - Up to 2 employees $ 100
    Time to Complete : 1 day
    Cost to Complete : from MXN 100 to MXN 670

    Source: Doing Business database. — http://www.doingbusiness.org/~/media/FPDKM/Doing%20Business/Documents/Profiles/Country/MEX.pdf ; Pages 21 – 22

    Regards,

    Diego

  • 57.    Carrie Clark  |  May 5th, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Hi Alberto,

    I can say that I haven’t made that transition either…I eat dinner everyday before 6pm. Several friends of mine (from Europe) who live in Panama do not understand me at all…they eat around 9-10pm. I guess it’s all personal preference and how we were all brought up.

  • 58.    Carrie Clark  |  May 5th, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Alberto,

    I think that anyone who loves soccer can argue against their rivals (my good friend from Kenya does it all the time). Thanks for the pointers, I will keep that in mind if I ever do business with Brazilians.

  • 59.    Carrie Clark  |  May 5th, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    You’re welcome =)

  • 60.    Carrie Clark  |  May 6th, 2012 at 12:08 am

    I found a video on the beauty of South and Central America for everyone to see. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3mQRg_kz-w

  • 61.    Jad Fawaz  |  May 6th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Hello,

    I just wanted to say that this is a very interesting project you made there about Mexico. I really didn’t a lot of important factors about this country. But I have an Idea about the crimes that happens in Mexico, Also I wanted to state that there are many organizations and hospitals that steals people kidneys and other organs while doing a surgery without their knowledge, and then sell it to other people. This is very common in Mexico and Latin America.

    Best Regards,
    Jad Fawaz

  • 62.    Kyle Horak  |  May 6th, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks Esther, I believe we were lucky to get this topic as it seems everyone in our group seems to have some kind of experience with Brazilian people. I believe that there culture has many similar aspects to the Latin culture, however I know that they hate to be compared haha. Often a time people will actually call them Latin and the truth is that they’re not. I believe that they are a very proud and think of themselves as individuals. I’d definitely love to go visit there sometime during the Carnival in Rio

  • 63.    Kyle Horak  |  May 6th, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    I found your article very interesting
    I believe that counties around Panama are going to significantly benefit from our growth. I also believe that people in and around central America are starting to learn how to conduct business peacefully. It’s going to be extremely interesting to see how these countries grow in the next 20 years.

  • 64.    Kyle Horak  |  May 6th, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    I totally agree with your observation Hector.
    I believe that Panama is very unique and in some circumstances very privileged. I believe that Panama came out a much better country and that it wouldn’t be where it is today if it weren’t for certain influences.

  • 65.    Kyle Horak  |  May 6th, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Hi Guys

    Great project
    I believe that Mexico is one of the few cultures that most people know quite a substantial amount of information about without really researching. However I found that the information that you provided was enlightening and gave me a totally different perspective of Mexico and it’s culture. I believe that this culture s also one of the few cultures that also has a big US influence. In fact quite similar to Panama in Some aspects.

  • 66.    Diego Salvatierra  |  May 6th, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Hello Blanca,

    You are right about education’s importance, and it’s true that Mexico still has a ways to go to improve it…

    I can think of one or two methods that could help foment better education nationwide :

    “Send ‘em out but bring ‘em back!” : the government could create a scholarship program for teachers to study abroad, go to seminars and internships across the globe, allowing them to improve their techniques.

    This and any other technique would have to be coupled to a subsidy program that would offer better salaries to teachers that return and work in the public school system, thus attracting higher-level scholars to lower-level schools, and helping to improve education globally.

    Teachers will generally be more attracted to better pay, so offering good salaries in the public school system is essential to augment the number of teachers available, and augment the number of schools that can be run. Offering better salaries based on skill level can be an incentive to continue improving and allowing Mexico’s education level to grow unimpeded.

    Another possibility is to subsidize private schools in order to render them more accessible to the general public. In some European countries for example, private AND public universities are subsidized by the state in order to be easily accessible to families of all levels of income.

    Scholarship programs could be added later on in order to incite students to work harder, but that would have to wait until the education system receives an initial boost, or it would only appeal to a very small number of students…

    What do you think about these options ?

    Regards,

    Diego

  • 67.    Diego Salvatierra  |  May 6th, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Hi Giorgio !

    Wow, that is indeed quite a large amount of Lebanese. I wouldn’t be able to answer truly to your question as I have no idea what reasons could have attracted the Lebanese over in the first place.

    I do know that as a general rule in Latin America, Lebanese immigration is a known factor in many countries, my home country of Venezuela included.

    In Venezuela, and here in Panama, Lebanese tend to become store owners and merchants, as well as opening Lebanese restaurants, although there are some who invest and enter the financial scene.

    I imagine therefore that Lebanese in Mexico must be affecting the commercial and service sector most of all.

    I can do some further research on the matter if you like !

    Best regards,

    Diego

  • 68.    Gretel Troetsch  |  May 6th, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Hi Luis,
    I agree with you. One good example of Panama working for its tourism industry, which is one of the most important industries in our country, is the project of cleaning the bay┬┤s water. Once this big project is done, many commercial projects (some of which have already started) will be done, which will bring great investments to our economy.

  • 69.    Dale Cooper  |  May 7th, 2012 at 12:44 am

    I would have to agree that once all the small talk is done it is time to focus on the issue at hand. Latin Americans shouldn’t be intimidated by North Americans, I think both cultures need to consider where each is coming from and adapt to each others points of views and ways of doing business.

  • 70.    Luis Camarena  |  May 7th, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Hi Joey…
    Thanks for your kind words, i definitely got you that with living in Panama, has made you more patient… its sometimes hard to get used to it even for me that i am panamenian, but i still hate when people o r classe are not punctual!!
    Grettings

  • 71.    Esther Bezalel  |  May 7th, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Hi Kyle!
    Thank you for your input! And yes, I agree without, especially if we focus on Panama, regarding the Canal Widening, much more businesses and countries are going to be able to use the Canal and to transport larger cargos in the Panama Max ships.

  • 72.    Esther Bezalel  |  May 7th, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Hi Alberto,
    Yeah I totally do, I move my whole body a lot and I’ve been told that I always do different and peculiar face expressions while I’m speaking. But I think is just tools we are used to use that helps express ourselves

  • 73.    Giorgio Moukarzel  |  May 8th, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Dear Diego,

    I want to thank you for your information that you already have.
    It is okay for me with the general information and by the way I have relatives whom they are staying in Venezuela.

    N.B: My last information according to the Lebanese population in Brazil was approximately about: 13.000.000 Citizens, and you won’t believe it as it is 3 times more than our population in Lebanon itself.

    Gracias para el informacion que tu tiene,

    Giorgio Moukarzel

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  • 76.    Joey Bonura  |  May 10th, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Hey Hector,

    Yes the annotations are speaking for the country as a whole. There may be small differences that vary between city to city.

  • 77.    Joey Bonura  |  May 10th, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Hey Jesus,

    Yes the Brazilian economy is booming right now! They are such a large country and have a huge role in the global economy. With the growth they are experiencing I think it is definitely important for people to learn how to do business there.

  • 78.    Joey Bonura  |  May 10th, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Hey thanks Mohammad, I’m happy you thought our article was very insightful.

  • 79.    Joey Bonura  |  May 10th, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Hey Blanca,

    I think that the purpose of giving the gift can help define if it is a bribe. Are you giving a gift because you truly care about them or are you giving it so that they like you or your company better. LIke if you brought them a special wine from your home country I think that would be considered a gift. But if you give them a Rolex watch in hopes that they do business with you that would be a bribe.

  • 80.    Lorette Calix  |  May 15th, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Glad you found it useful. Kudos to all the students who have participated. How did you find us?

  • 81.    erick vega  |  May 17th, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    alberto, i agree with you, lateness should not be ok because of the culture, I think that when you are late you send a signal of disrespect for the other person’s time. Usually people that are late all the time are the first to complain when someone else is late and they are left waiting.

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