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Questions regarding business culture in Peru

Hello,

I'm a student who is planning to study abroad in Chile and Peru. One of the assignments for this study abroad program requires me to get answers to questions regarding cultural differences between the United States and Peru. Can anyone help me by answering any of these questions regarding business culture in Peru?

1.    Are there any common customs in the U.S. that are rude in Peru?
2.    How important is eye contact during business discussions?
3.    Among business circles, how do Peruvians see United States citizens? For instance, are they generally wary of U.S. citizens or are they amiable?
4.    Should you greet people along a social hierarchy? Or do you just greet whoever you encounter first?
5.    How punctual is a person expected to be when arriving for a business meeting? Should they be early, on time, or a little late?



Thank you for your help.

Re your #5, I always ask, ¿Hora inglesa u hora latina?

This generally gets a chuckle but also they'll tell you what's expected as as far as when to show up.  For some events like casual get-togethers (and not business meetings) if you show up on-time you're liable to wait quite a while before anyone else shows up...for business meetings show up on time.  Only the big(ger) bosses are expected to be late - just like in the US...

In general for the rest it depends more on connections, who you know, often more so than in the US.  And this can vary according as to how fluent is your Spanish - you don't get to know a culture until you can speak their language.  If you have a good native contact you can trust you should ask her/him for guidance - not every business situation is the same.  There is no "one size fits all" answer for your questions, not in the US and not in latin countries either.

If you are doing business with total strangers (you probably should never do business with total strangers) you want to be quite reserved.  You should always be respectful, but firm when necessary but never laying down any ultimatums.  It's natural for both sides to be wary, but that doesn't mean you can't be cordial.  As much as you can without pressing too hard you should try to get agreement on dates, timetables, deliverables etc. etc. because if you don't there are always excuses later on...remember that this happens even in the so-called developed countries, and don't be surprised that it happens in latin countries too.

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