Business Practices in Syria

Overview by
The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
Knowing the country is fundamental to start a business company in Syria. These are some important elements of the culture:
Islam: It is necessary to organize meetings and appointments around their prayer times in an appropriate way. It is better to avoid Fridays. It is also better to avoid doing business during the month of Ramadan.
Questions of gender: The roles of men and women are well defined in the Arab culture. Interaction among both sexes is still not well seen in certain areas.
However, while doing business in Syria, it is not odd to find women. If a man is introduced to a woman, it is advisable to wait and see if the woman makes the first move to shake hands. It is better to avoid a prolonged eye contact with women.
First Contact
The first meetings serve to build up trust and to get to know each other better. These meetings can be very informal (with many interruptions). It is important to have a lot of patience, mainly while going through the administrative procedures.
To greet, handshakes are used and can take a long time. It is recommended to wait until the other person releases the hand first in order to do the same. A greeting must always be done with the right hand.
Business Relations
Creating a network of business relations is essential in Syria, since even the commercial laws are strongly adapted for "each particular case".
Syria is strongly affected by corruption, it is not unusual to develop a network with the help of gifts, invitations, etc. These practices are well used if one wants to respond to offers and also in the administration if one wants to accelerate the procedures. Establishing contacts in the government or in the bureaucracy is the best way to manage a business.
Business Communication
It is important to have a lot of patience and diplomacy for entering into the Syrian market. It is very delicate for a trader to evaluate with precision the market that concerns him due to lack of information and transparency. That is the reason why it is important to count with local experienced traders. It is essential to make efforts in communication in order to develop a trusted relationship.
Dress Code
There is no particular dress code.
Visiting Cards
Visiting cards are usually written in Arabic on the front side and in English on the back side. If that is not the case, the Arabic language is first. The numbers used in Syria correspond to the Indian numbers and are different from the Arabic numbers used in France.
For Further Information
Infoexport, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

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