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Doing Business in Argentina – The Roadmap to Success

Argentina can be central to your Southern Cone Marketing Strategy

Argentina’s geographic location makes it easy to do business with neighboring countries with which it has beneficial trade agreements. You may extend your brand and stretch your market regionally.

Bring Finance to the Table

Argentina is the third-largest market in the world for Exim-Bank medium-term credits for buyers, and the second largest market in the world for the use of Exim guarantees by PNC bank. Use export credit insurance or other mechanisms to mitigate risk and close the deal.  For more information about doing business in Argentina, consult the Argentina Country Commercial Guide.

Identify a Strong Local Partner

It will require time and effort to ensure that your firm is a success in Argentina. Establishing a local presence in the Argentine market, finding a local partner with in-depth market knowledge, with the right contacts, is imperative. The Commercial Service in Argentina can help you identify the right match.

Understand the Local Culture

Business meetings start with informal conversations (chit-chat) over strong coffee (espresso). To establish trust, spend some time discussing sports and social activities, fundamental to the development of a solid business relationship. Discuss the family and mutual interests. Establishing a personal relationship can go a long way. U.S. businesspeople should take the time to develop a close personal relationship with their agent, representative, distributor, or other business partner.

Appreciate Business Customs

Argentine business and customs are generally more formal than those in the United States. Business dress, appearance and general demeanor are more conservative. Do not rush. Courtesy is very important and efforts to rush a business deal are unlikely to meet with success. It is important to shake hands with everyone in the room upon arriving and leaving. Among Argentines, it is customary for men to kiss women they meet for the first time on the right cheek. However, U.S. businesspeople should shake hands with Argentine women, until a friendly relationship has been established. For more information on local business customs, please see Business Travel Information.

Contacts and Introductions are Important

It is advisable to use the services of the U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, or other organizations such as the American Chamber of Commerce, industry associations, and other intermediaries, rather than relying on a direct "cold call" approach. The U.S. Commercial Service in Argentina offers a complete package for the businessperson to meet with potential business partners.

Be on Time

It is important that you be prompt to business meetings, even though your Argentine contact may be slightly late. Always have a pre-arranged appointment. Be sure to have an ample supply of business cards. Although not essential, it is beneficial to have cards printed in Spanish as well as English.

One Word of Caution

One cultural note is that it is better form not to say you are from "America." In Latin America, the term "America" denotes both North and South America, not just the United States. Therefore, it is better to call yourself a North American (norteamericano) or to say you are from the United States (estadounidense).

By Foreign Commercial Service Officer Wanda Barquin, including excerpts from Argentina’s 2011 Country Commercial Guide (Chapter 8).