Argentina has a population of 43 million with an ethnic composition of 85 percent european descent, primarily Spanish or Italian.

Spanish is the official language, although many people speak English, Italian, or other languages. Argentine Spanish is heavily influenced by Italian and is unlike Spanish spoken anywhere in Latin America.

Even with its numerous economic, political and social difficulties, Argentina remains a country which holds vast potential for the careful, well-prepared business investors.

The concept of power explains the level of equality found in the business world. Argentina has moderate power index, meaning that the country is neither extremely equal nor extremely one-sided.

The people of Argentina show more respect for those in an higher position; however, they still wish to represent the company as a whole.
It is common for an executive to make a subordinate wait for half an hour before arriving to a meeting. This shows how, those in authority positions, are allowed to hold themselves in higher importance.

On the other hand, decisions are generally reached by debate, encompassing the opinions of all. 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 finalized until all of its elements are signed. Any portion can be re-negotiated. Get everything written.Be punctual for business appointments, but prepare to wait thirty minutes for your counterpart, especially if you are meeting an important person. Confirm meetings one week in advance.

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 relaxed manner, maintain eye contact and restrict the use of gestures. Don’t 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.

Working habits

Argentines can be quite aggressive when it comes to business. You may find that short-term thinking prevails. Exercise caution, and don’t trust deals agreed on a handshake. A signed contract is the best thing to rely on.

Contacts are decisive. Porteños (residents of Buenos Aires) tend to place great emphasis on social connections, and knowing somebody in common can help a lot when you’re building a relationship. This can even extend to hiring staff; it is not unusual for an employee to get hired because of who, rather than what, they know.

Argentines tend to start and finish work late. Although business meetings can sometimes begin at 8.30am, it is not unusual to be unable to find someone in their office before 10am.

Over 40% of the economy is informal and you may find yourself coming into contact with some of these sections. Your Argentine business partner may not be aware that you have different expectations.

Body Language

Argentines stand close to each other when speaking. Do not back away.

The “O.K.” and “thumbs up” gestures are considered vulgar.

Hitting the palm of the left hand with the right fist means “I don’t believe what you are saying” or “That’s stupid”.


Argentines are extremely fashion conscious. Dress well if you want to make a good impression. Conservative, modest clothing is best.
Women are expected to dress with a flair that does not detract from professionalism.

Especially for Women

While machismo persists in Argentina, it is being challenged and women are gaining visibility and influence in politics and business. Argentine businesswomen are similar in status to North American businesswomen.

Helpful Hints

Don’t be offended by Argentine humor, which may mildly attack your clothing or weight.

Always greet officials before asking them questions.

  • Don’t compare Argentina with the United States or with Brazil, which is considered a rival.
  • Avoid talking about Great Britain or the Falkland Islands (Las Malvinas). These are sensitive subjects to many Argentines.
  • Although Argentines may be very vocal about politics and religion, avoid adding your opinions to these discussions.

Fonte: a cura di Exportiamo, di Morvarid Mahmoodabadi,


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