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Business Customs

There is no substitute for face-to-face meetings with Spanish business representatives to break into this market. Spaniards expect a personal relationship with suppliers. Initial communication by phone or fax is far less effective than a personal meeting. Mail campaigns generally yield meager results. Less than 30 percent of local managers are fluent in English.

Spaniards are more formal in personal relations than Americans but much less rigid than they were ten years ago. The biggest mistake a U.S. businessperson can make is to assume doing business in Spain is just like doing business in Mexico and Latin America; Italy or France would be a better comparison. A handshake is customary upon initiating and closing a business meeting, accompanied by an appropriate greeting. Professional attire is expected. Business dress is suit and tie, and business cards are required.

Spaniards tend to be "conservative" in their buying habits. Known brands do well. Large government and private sector buyers appear more comfortable dealing with other large, established organizations or with firms that are recognized as leaders within their sectors.

Spain is a developed and stable democracy with a modern economy. Tourist facilities are widely available.

Entry requirements: A passport is necessary but a visa is not required for tourist or commercial stays of up to three months. Holders of official or diplomatic passports need a visa if traveling on official business. Under the Schengen Agreement, U.S. citizens may travel without a visa between Spain and other Schengen countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Sweden).

If you are a U.S. company wanting to enter the Spanish market, we have a number of services on-line that will help you and your company get established in Spain. Please feel free to contact USCS Spain directly, or review our services directly Find Business Spanish Partners…