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How to do business in the Gulf: Part four

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10 Know who you are

Conversely, male westerners can expect to be routinely called by their first name plus Mister, for example: Mr Frank. Young women will be called Miss plus first name but are often referred to as Madam in the third person, or when older. It’s confusing at first, especially when dealing with officialdom, but somewhat logical.

11 Beware the booze

Alcohol is a minefield for the active networker. Banned under Islam but offered to westerners in some areas under Arab traditions of hospitality. Alcohol is completely banned in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait but available in most other areas, with restrictions. In the UAE and Qatar, expats need a licence to keep alcohol in their homes. Wine, beer or spirits are not available in supermarkets.

12 … and where you drink

Social drinking is allowed in Dubai and other parts of the UAE, as well as Qatar and Bahrain, but there are conventions. Cocktail parties with Arab guests are rare. If a Muslim Arab is present, it’s probably best not to engage in chitchat while holding an alcoholic drink. Public drunkenness is absolutely “haram” [forbidden] everywhere and can lead to arrest and prosecution.

Picture: source

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