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International Gift Giving Etiquette

Mar 24, 2008
Each country has their own rules and customs regarding the giving and receiving gifts. So if you are doing business in another country or you doing business with a company in another country, you will want to check out the rules first before you get any one of them a gift. Just to give you an idea. In some countries gifts are considered to be friendly gestures, but in one country it could be taken as a bribe.

In doing business in China and you are going to give a gift to a Chinese client you will need to give a group gift. Your company can be printed on it. Do not give a clock, the word clock is similar the Chinese word for Death.

Gifts of alcohol, pork, or gifts made of pigskin are distasteful gifts for people of the Muslim or Jewish faith. Their religions are against them.

It is in bad taste to give a corporate give to the wife of an Arab colleague or client.

You are not required to give a gift to a Latin American background at the first meeting.

Businessmen from America, Australia, Canada or Europe do not expected a gift however they are appreciated and will be viewed as a nice gesture. The United States usually will limit the corporate gifts to no more than twenty-five dollars.

Singapore businessmen are not allowed to accept gifts.

In a Malaysian country a gift should not be given until a firm relationship is established. To give a gift prior to that happening will be considered a bribe.

The exchanging of gifts is expected because of tradition in Japan, Indonesia and Philippines. However part of the tradition is the style by which the gift is presented, you will want to plan this element carefully. If you send a corporate gift to a Japanese associate or clients, make sure to make them aware of its impending arrival. Never allow it to arrive unannounced. If giving the gift in person, give at the end of your visit to be open later by the recipient. Small gifts are given frequently in the Indonesian culture.

If you are giving a gift in Japan or Hong Kong, always make sure you use both hands. If it is for a client in the Middle East or Asia, only use the right hand or both hands.

If you are present a gift to a client in Singapore it will be refused. The tradition is the gift must be turned down three times before it can be taken. Make sure you offer the gift three more times to ensure the gifts acceptance.

If you give a gift with the company logo printed on it to a client in Spain, Greece or Portugal. This will be viewed as blatant advertising of your company and will be offensive to them.

In India because the cow is a sacred being to them, do no offer any gifts made from leather or beef.

To those from Brazil, England, Panama or Peru, they will prefer a dinner or a meal over a physical present.
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