Andorra is a landlocked microstate located in the Pyrenees Mountains and is bordered by European super powers Spain and France. Though it is the sixth smallest country in Europe, don’t let its size fool you, Andorra is bustling with market-busting business potential. When traveling to Andorra for business, mastering cultural etiquette is a must, here’s some advice on how to ace your next meeting and ensure your success in Eastern Europe’s tiniest treasure trove...
Andorra’s low tax duty-free market has helped to stabilize the local economy and makes it an ideal choice for foreign business prosperity. The country thrives on exports such as precious metals, tobacco, and livestock but in recent years, financial service offerings have aided in an economic growth spurt of about 3% each year. The business atmosphere in Andorra is considered formal, and normal business hours are between 8am-5pm, and 8am-3pm during the summer months.
Andorra’s business culture is exceptionally formal. When greeting a counterpart or senior officer of a company, a handshake is acceptable.
Business Meetings & Presentations
Meetings and presentations should be scheduled in advance and are most often held in the morning. When scheduling the appointment, always ask what language is preferred. If you do not speak fluent Catalan, the official language of Andorra, you should have an interpreter present. Punctuality and professionalism are very important to Andorrans. Be punctual or even arrive early to a business meeting. The atmosphere of meetings is no-nonsense; Andorrans like to get down to business immediately so leave the small talk until lunch. Lunch breaks from meetings is held around 1:30pm and will usually last until late afternoon.
Business attire in Andorra is formal; therefore, men should wear a suit and tie. Women should dress conservatively in dark pant suit or long skirt and blouse.
It is acceptable to present gifts to Andorrans. It is common practice for Andorrans to open the gift immediately upon receipt.
Business cards should be exchanged during the first meeting. It is not required that your business card script be in Catalan, but having one side of the card in French or Spanish is a plus.
Andorrans have a reputation for being aggressive during business meetings. Due to their "get down to business" attitude, Andorrans also have a tendency to be very blunt and straightforward, it is important to not take offense to this. Andorran men prefer talking business with other men, so if you are a female business owner or officer, it may be more difficult to negotiate. It is important for women to be positive and cordial, yet hold their ground during negotiations.
Andorrans are known for having strong, Catholic-based values; when visiting, it is important to respect your counterparts and develop trust. When you have the opportunity to make small talk it is acceptable to engage in conversations about sports, politics, and food; but try to avoid discussions regarding family life and religion. When doing business in Andorra, be mindful of counterparts’ and superiors’ beliefs and opinions, a little understanding and respect can go a long way.
Andorra is not that different from the rest of western Europe in how it conducts business so it should be easy to adjust to. However, there are some differences, just make sure that you stick to the rules laid out above and you should find your business venture quite fruitful.