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Business Etiquette in the UAE – useful facts and particulars

Many people choose the United Arab Emirates as the country to launch their business in as it is very favorable for doing business. The UAE attract entrepreneurs from all over the world due to the lenient tax system open both to locals and foreigners, secure future, diversification of the economy, general ease of doing business and making investments. However, in every country, there are certain regulations and particulars that run deep in the culture of the people and predetermine how business is done here. This set of regulations is called business etiquette. If you plan to launch a business in the UAE, you have to be aware these etiquette and particulars guidelines:

  • The official language of the state is Arab but English is considered to be the lingua franca. International meetings are conducted in English as well as negotiations. However, it will be appreciated if you learn several greetings in Arab and know how to respond to them.
  • Friday and Saturday are the official weekends in the UAE. Working hours vary depending on the fact if it is a government facility of a private company. Government offices usually open at 7.30 a.m. and close at 3 p.m.
  • Trust is an extremely important and particular component of business relationships as well as courtesy. Personal contact will be appreciated.
  • When you meet a group of people in an office, always greet a senior first. Outside the office, you can simply shake hands (a typical form of greeting) with everyone clockwise. Avoid physical contact with women.
  • Meetings do not always begin on time. However, try not to be late and be patient – meetings are not structured and planned in advance and can be disrupted by phone calls and conversations and this would not be considered as the non-fulfillment of business etiquette. Certain topics, such as politics, should be avoided. Commenting on the country’s innovative approach will be welcome.
  • At a meeting you will be always offered a cup of tea or coffee. Drink at least one cup – refusing might be considered impolite.
  • Be careful about what you wear – you clothes have to be reserved. This does not mean, however, that you are expected to wear a suit and a tie at the time of high heat.
  • Negotiations can take time as well as decision-making and this is the particular of this region. To achieve results – be patient.
  • Address people as Mister, Sheikh, or Prince depending on the status of the person plus a name.

Making summary on the business etiquette and its particulars of the UAE – if you are not familiar with the UAE specifics, you simply follow the general international business praxis and your would not do anything really wrong.


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