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Dominican Republic - Business Culture

The Dominican Republic has a fairly informal business culture, in which networking and personal contacts are very important, as is the giving and receiving of favours. Business relationships are largely based on trust, so you will need to make regular trips to the country to meet with your contacts in person. The society is very status-conscious, and it is important to be respectful and deferential to senior business people. It is male dominated and there are relatively few women in business,

You should make appointments in advance, and turn up on time, although the Dominicans may arrive a little late. Business hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays to Fridays; some businesses still close for a two-hour siesta in the middle of the day. Early mornings are popular for meetings, and business lunches are commonly held, but are generally for getting to know people rather than formal business discussions.

Spanish is the official language, although English is widely spoken. Written materials should be provided in both Spanish and English. Business attire is conservative but smart, consisting of dark business suits for men and smart suits or dresses for women.

The standard greeting is a handshake, with good eye contact, and smile. Business cards are usually exchanged on meeting. There is usually some small talk at the outset of meetings, and it is acceptable to enquire about people's personal lives, such as their families. initial meetings are often quite formal but later ones more relaxed as the Dominicans get to know you.

Dominican communication styles are quite direct, and they are skilled and tough negotiators, although high-pressure sales tactics are not popular here. Decisions are often deferred until after the meeting, and the decision-making progress can be quite lengthy due to the need to consult senior members of the organisation or to navigate the complex bureaucracy.

It is inadvisable to give gifts to your Dominican business counterparts, as this may be construed as a request for something in return. If you are invited to someone's home, a small gift such as chocolates or cakes is appropriate.

This guide was compiled with the help of Lindsay de Feliz, a British expat blogger living in the Dominican Republic. Visit her blog at

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