Considering doing business in Spain?
Verbio specializes in international trade, multicultural marketing, and multilingual communications, so we assembled cultural tips and trade info to help you explore new markets:
- Arrive to the meeting on time and expect your Spanish counterpart to do the same. While there is a relaxed sense of time in many Spaniards’ social lives, punctuality is required in the world of business. This may not always be adhered to, but it is reasonable to maintain this expectation.
- Personal relationships play a large role in Spanish business culture. Third-party introductions are helpful as Spaniards prefer to work with those whom they know and trust. It is also preferred that people meet face-to-face as often as possible as this deepens the personal relationship between partners.
- Punctuality is not highly important in Spain. People can arrive half an hour late to a social function with no questions raised. If someone turns up late and apologizes, people are likely to respond with something like “no pasa nada” – meaning “It’s not that important”.
- Expect meals to be served at later times. Dinner is usually eaten between 9 pm and 11:30 pm.
Do not leave immediately after a meal is finished. It is expected that guests stay for ‘la sobremesa’. This is the time spent after the meal that involves relaxed, fun conversations over coffee or alcoholic drinks.
Most Spaniards take vacation during the month of August. At this time, their offices may close.
- A common casual greeting involves a kiss on each cheek, starting with the left. This form of greeting is especially common among women. Men may be more likely to kiss women hello and goodbye than to shake their hands.
- A firm handshake with eye contact and a smile is the appropriate greeting in professional contexts.
- Once people become acquainted, greetings become a lot warmer and Spaniards often prefer to embrace (abrazo). This may involve a hug accompanied with a pat on the shoulder or elbow (between men)
- In formal settings, you may refer to someone using their professional or personal titles – for example, ‘Señor’ (Mr) for men and ‘Señora’ (Ms) for women. However, it is rare for someone’s friends to address them using their title and surname. Spaniards move onto a first-name basis very quickly, even in professional settings.
- Spanish office hours can be confusing to people from the English-speaking West. Some businesses stay open continuously from 9 am until 3 pm. Others open in the morning from 9 am until 2 pm, then break for a few hours and reopen around 4/5 pm until 7/8 pm. These siesta hours (2 pm 4/5 pm) can interrupt business engagements.
How to say it:
Olvera – town in the province of Cádiz, Andalusia, Spain
Do you seek help with strategy and communications to identify and negotiate with a new manufacturer or distributor? Verbio can help.
U.S. goods and services trade with Spain totaled an estimated $32 billion in 2020. Exports were $15.2 billion; imports were $16.8 billion.
The top export categories in 2019 were: cars ($34.5 billion), refined petroleum ($12.3 billion), vehicle parts ($10.6 billion), packaged medicine ($9.95 billion), and delivery trucks ($6.07 billion). It was also the world’s biggest exporter of citrus ($3.58 billion) and pure olive oil ($3.39 billion)
The top import categories in 2019 were: crude petroleum ($27.8 billion), cars ($21.6 billion), vehicle parts ($13.2 billion), packaged medicine ($10 billion), and petroleum gas($8.58 billion).
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Whether you’re on a city break in Barcelona or Madrid, or you’ve plumped for a countryside or coastal retreat, Spanish food is full of flavor and character.
Spanish cuisine is the set of cooking practices and traditions of Spain and is characterized by products found in and around the Mediterranean Sea. Grains, fresh fish, fruits and vegetables are the star players in the Mediterranean diet, considered to be one of the world’s healthiest eating plans.
Apart from producing most of Europe’s fresh vegetables, Spain is the world’s largest producer of olive oil, so naturally, it plays a big role in the country’s cuisine. It forms the base of many vegetable sauces, main dishes and is even used in desserts.
Here is a list of dishes that we recommend you try when you visit Spain:
- #1 Paella – THE number 1 dish when you think of Spanish food. Originally from the region of Valencia, the word paella actually means “frying pan” in Valencian. This saffron rice dish can include any combination of chicken, rabbit, vegetables, and/or seafood and is the dish of choice when feeding a large group of people. In fact, most restaurants have a two-person minimum when ordering paella, so be sure to invite a friend!
- #2 Ajo colorao – Made with potatoes, red peppers and tomatoes, this puréed Andalusian dish is a flavorful alternative to the more common salmorejo and gazpacho. It can be served warm or cold and it is typically adorned with pieces of fresh cod.
- #3 Migas – It’s raining, it’s pouring, it’s migas time! Although popular no matter what the weather throughout most of the country, some southern regions in Spain save them for a rainy day. When that day finally comes, people flock to their favorite bar/restaurant for this simple dish of crumbs. Yes, you read that correctly. The base ingredients are bread crumbs and flour, fried in olive oil with chorizo, peppers, garlic and sometimes sardines or other fish. It doesn’t rain often in the Southeast, so this dish is a real treat for those in the area!
- #4 Pintxos – Similar to tapas, pintxos can have a variety of toppings, skewered to slices of baguette using long toothpicks. The most popular pintxos are up north in the Basque Country, with toppings like tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette), fresh cod, croquettes or stuffed peppers. Our favorite pintxo can be found in Vitoria-Gasteiz and is made up of mashed potato (spread paper-thin and oven-dried until pliable) enveloped around two pieces of bacon and egg yolk, then deep-fried until golden brown. Ikaragarria da!
- #5 Sangria – This delicious cocktail combines the best of summer by infusing wine, summer fruits, and soda water. Sangria’s origins probably date back to the Middle Ages, during a time when water was unhealthy to drink and drinking fermented beverages carried a much lower risk of causing illness. The word “sangria” is much more serious than the drink itself: it comes from the Latin word for blood, thanks to the original sangria’s reddish hue, a result of the red wine first used to make it.
Sources: Observatory of Economic Complexity – Wikipedia – Food & Wine – Cultural Atlas
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and theatre designer. One of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century.