Doing Business In Argentina

  1. Argentina is ranked 124th out of 185 economies in Doing Business 2013. Its overall ranking fell by 8 points compared to last year.
  2. According to the most recent Enterprise Surveys (2010), the top 3 obstacles to running a business in Argentina include Tax Rates, Access to Finance, and Labor Regulations. Senior management spends 20.8% of their time dealing with regulation in Argentina compared with 12.7% for the region..
  3. Argentina’s economic freedom score is 48, making its economy the 158th freest in the 2012 Index. Its overall score has decreased by 3.7 points. With lower scores on six of the 10 economic freedoms, Argentina now ranks only 27th out of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region, and its overall score is far below the regional and world averages.

Source: World Bank


Visa Information

Nationals of the USA, Canada, most Western European countries, Australia and New Zealand do not need visas to visit Argentina. *** However, as of 20 December 2009, US citizens flying into Ezeiza International Airport must pay an entry fee of $US131. This fee is valid for ten years and allows for multiple visits to the country. For more details, see the US Embassy website or Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree travelers' forum
In theory, upon arrival all non-visa visitors must obtain a free tourist card, good for 90 days and renewable for 90 more. In practice, immigration officials issue these only at major border crossings, such as airports and on the ferries and hydrofoils between Buenos Aires and Uruguay. Although you should not toss your card away, losing it is no major catastrophe; at most exit points, immigration officials will provide immediate replacement for free.
Dependent children traveling without both parents theoretically need a notarized document certifying that both parents agree to the child’s travel. Parents may also wish to bring a copy of the custody form; however, there’s a good chance they won’t be asked for either document.
Very short visits to neighboring countries usually do not require visas. Despite what a travel agency might say, you probably don’t need a Brazilian visa to cross from the Argentine town of Puerto Iguazú to Foz do Iguaçu and/or Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, if you return the same day, although you should bring your passport. The same is true at the Bolivian border town of Villazón, near La Quiaca. Officials at the Paraguayan crossing at Encarnación, near Posadas, have been known to extract cash ‘fees’ from crossers who don’t have a Paraguayan visa (British, Australian, Canadian and US nationals need them), assuming you stop or get stopped at the border.
Visa extensions
For a 90-day extension on your tourist visa, visit the Dirección Nacional de Migraciones (immigration office;011-4317-0200; Antártida Argentina 1355; 7:30am-1:30pm Mon-Fri) in Buenos Aires. You must do so during the week that your tourist visa is scheduled to expire. The fee is AR$100.
Another option if you’re staying more than three months is to cross into Colonia or Montevideo (both in Uruguay) or into Chile for a day or two before your visa expires, then return with a new 90-day visa. However, this only works if you don’t need a visa to enter the other country (Australians need visas for Uruguay).

Business Etiquette

Relationships & Communication

Argentina is a relationship-driven culture, so it is important to build networks and use them.

Argentines maintain and use an intricate network of family and friends to call upon for help, favours or assistance.

If a favour is done for you, you will eventually be called upon to re-pay it.

Name-dropping and nepotism do not have the negative connotations as it has in the West and can be used to your advantage.

Above all Argentines like to do business with people they know and trust.

They prefer face-to-face meetings rather than by telephone or in writing, which are seen as impersonal.

Once a relationship has developed, their loyalty will be to you rather than to the company you represent.

Looking good in the eyes of others is important to Argentines. Therefore, they will judge you not only on what you say, but also on the way you present yourself.

Avoid confrontation. Argentines do not like publicly admitting they are incorrect.

It is imperative to show deference and respect to those in positions of authority. When dealing with people at the same level, communication can be more informal.

Be alert for nuances and hidden meanings. It is a good idea to repeat details, as you understand them to confirm that you and your business colleagues are in agreement.

Business Meeting Etiquette

Appointments are necessary and should be made 1 to 2 weeks in advance, preferably by e-mail or telephone.

Avoid January and February, which are their vacation times; the middle weeks of July, which is when many go skiing; and during the two weeks before and after Christmas.

You should arrive on time for meetings, although the person you are meeting may not be punctual.

In some older, more bureaucratic organizations, the more important the person you are meeting, the longer they keep you waiting.

Do not immediately begin discussing business. Small talk helps establish a rapport.

The person you are meeting with may accept telephone calls and attend to other business while you are there.

 Have all printed material available in both English and Spanish.

Decisions are not reached at meetings. Meetings are for discussion and to exchange ideas.

Business Negotiations

Argentines expect to deal with people of similar status.

Hierarchy is important. Decisions are made at the top of the company. Business moves slowly because it is extremely bureaucratic. Decisions often require several layers of approval.

Argentines have a difficult time disagreeing, so do not think that things are going well simply because no one is challenging what you say.


What to Wear?

Business attire is formal and conservative, yet stylish.

Men should wear dark coloured, conservative business suits.

Women should wear elegant business suits or dresses.

Good quality accessories are important for both sexes.

Dress well if you want to make a good impression.

Business Card Etiquette

Business cards are given without formal ritual.

Have one side of your business card translated into Spanish.

Present your business card so the Spanish side faces the recipient.


General Business Hours

Traditionally, business hours in Argentina commence by 8am and break at midday siesta (rest) for three or even four hours, during which people return home for lunch and a brief nap. After siesta, shops reopen until 8pm or 9pm. This schedule is still common in the provinces, but government offices and many businesses in Buenos Aires have adopted a more conventional 8am to 5pm schedule in the interests of ‘greater efficiency.’