Argentinians are very affectionate and warm people. Important things to remember include:
Argentinians address as “tú” (informal person in Spanish) and most commonly “vos” (informal person in Argentinian Spanish). It is also possible that they touch you when they are talking to you. A pat on the shoulder would not be surprising. Maintaining eye contact is also very important.
- Business hours
Normal business hours are Monday through Friday from 09:00 to 18:00 (punctuality is generally observed). Appointments are necessary and should be made one to two weeks in advance, preferably by e-mail or telephone.
- The art of small talk
Do not talk about sensitive topics unless you are prepared. Even if you think you are well informed, try not to offer a quick opinion over a subject that can be sensitive to Argentinians. Normally they do not take it very well unless your knowledge of Argentina is excellent. Argentinians often need several meetings and extensive discussion to make deals so be prepared for a certain amount of small talk before getting down to business.
- Strong European tradition
The population of Uruguay mainly consists of descendants of European immigrants. Therefore, Uruguay has a very strong European tradition and the local market is receptive to European products.
Initial greetings are formal and follow a set protocol of greeting the eldest or most important person first. A standard handshake, with direct eye contact and a welcoming smile will suffice. Most Uruguayans use two surnames: one from their father, which is listed first, followed by one from their mother but only the father’s surname is used when addressing someone.
- Business relationships
Normal business hours are Monday through Friday from 09:00 to 18:00 (punctuality is important). Appointments are necessary and should be made one to two weeks in advance, preferably by e-mail or telephone. Do not immediately start discussing business. Small talks helps to establish a relationship.
- Business meals
Business cocktails and lunches are common. Dinners are common for closing a business agreement. Home dinner invitations are rare and should be considered an honor.
- Business gifts
Small business gifts may be given at the closing of a deal or at the conclusion of a trade mission or formal visit. Any gift that might be interpreted as bribery could have legal consequences. In fact, some businesses have adopted codes of conduct that may not permit the acceptance of gifts in certain circumstances.