Doing business in Argentina

Claudio Rois is the founder and owner of family-run energy and renewable resources company, The Food Water and Energy Company, headquartered in Cambridge with operations in Argentina. He’s put together a great article for Growth Business on doing business in Argentina. We’ve pulled out the best bits.

"There are many simple ways of making the right impression while working with Argentinean businesses," explains Rois. "As with any international trade partner, understanding customs and etiquette is vital to building trust and securing the best deal.

"Argentinean business tends to be completed through contacts rather than contracts. Establishing relationships based on mutual respect is a fundamental aspect of both the Argentinean culture and business place. If you spend time building relationships before going into business, then you stand a better chance of becoming a trusted business partner.

"Timeframes in Argentina are also invariably longer," Rois continues. "A simple, if slightly harsh, rule of thumb is that if it takes 24 hours in the UK, it will take 24 days in Spain and 24 weeks in Argentina. It is vitally important to factor this in, and make sure you pose realistic time scales for any business venture."

As for sectors to explore, Rois says: "Exports from Argentina have doubled in the last five years, reaching US$65.8 billion in 2007, due in large part to rising international prices, an expanding export capacity and a highly competitive exchange rate. This has led to the traditional commodities markets expanding, but also emerging industries such as automotive, food and design manufacturing. With such a focus on these products, it is no surprise that exporting and importing goods in Argentina represents almost half of its GDP."

Additionally, Rois says: "The European demand for biofuels is vast with an expected ten million tonnes to be required at the start of the next decade. The UK government’s strict carbon dioxide emissions targets should also see biofuels set to become a major investment opportunity and could see Argentina on the cusp of a major wave of foreign investment."

Startups in these sectors could make a mint but Rois has a caveat: red tape in Argentina is a real issue. "Red tape can be cumbersome and it is important to acquire the services of an accountant well-versed in Argentinean law to ensure all the necessary steps are taken," he says. Click here to read the whole article on doing business in Argentina.

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