Business etiquette in regards to gifts in different countries. -author Lynne Brenon

  United Kingdom – the exchange of gifts is limited to branded items. Most organizations don’t encourage exchanging gifts or organizing events for clients and partners for fear of being accused of corruption.


  Germany – nothing extravagant. The rule is small quantities but good quality. Whiskey, high quality food and tea are acceptable.


  Spain – there are rarely any gifts before business is concluded successfully. They should not be extravagant and if there is a logo of your company it should not stand out. Souvenirs from your home country, accessories for desks and high quality alcohol are completely acceptable. Gifts are usually unpacked on the spot.


  Italy – small branded pens, calculators, key chains, wallets and journals without the logo of your company. When you are giving flowers they should be, by tradition, an uneven number. Don’t use purple, black or golden wrapping paper since they convey a negative meaning.


  Poland – appropriate gifts are whiskey, cognac, but not vodka; also high quality coffee and tea and useful electronic devices.


  Netherlands – gifts should be of the highest quality but unobtrusive, such as quality alcohol, pens, and accessories for desks and electronic devices. The giving of gifts is thought of as a gesture of friendship and not as a form of advertising of products. It is best to wait for your personal relationship to develop before offering a gift.


  Switzerland – appropriate gifts are high quality cognac or champagne, journals and hand crafted souvenirs, but do not present them before a contract is actually signed. Doing so might be considered an attempt at bribery. Avoid personal conversations if you haven’t formed a friendship.


  Sweden - quality whiskey, brandy, wine from good vintages are well received gift. Other suitable gifts are souvenirs, silk scarves and ties and luxury editions with reproductions.


  France – suitable gifts are first-rate alcohol, works of art and electronic “gadgets” for adults which should not be labeled with a brand. The gift should have an individual character. It is generally considered obnoxious for gifts to be accompanied by a business card or the logo of a company so take care to remove any such marks from the gift or its packaging.


  Belgiumappropriate gifts are practical brand items.


  Argentina – first-rate whisky and champagne are suitable gifts but avoid anything made from leather – they have enough of that already.


  Russiaall kinds of gifts are welcome, and they don’t even need to be packaged. This includes food from your country, whiskey (not vodka, they have it in abundance), prestigious calculators, cameras, watches, towels, lighters and so on.


  USA – tax laws limit the cost of business gifts to $25, and as a result corporate gifts are not very evolved there.


  Japan – the ritual of giving business gifts is a significant part of business relations. Suitable are high quality alcohol and tea, toys for children of the hosts and items from renowned brands. Gifts should be carefully packaged, but not in black and white.


  Singapore – strict laws against corruption limit the gifting of anything which might be construed as an attempt at bribery, especially when given to official persons. Symbolic corporate gifts, however, are acceptable. Gifts are typically given only after a personal relationship has been developed. Small, beautifully packaged souvenirs from your country will be well received.


  China – In theory the giving of corporate gifts is forbidden by law but this has not been as strictly enforced in recent years. In any case, you should not gift anything with a high monetary value. Acceptable gifts include kitchen accessories, international culinary delicacies and selected liquors. Do not package gifts in black, white or blue (it’s related to mourning); red is preferred.


  India – Chocolate and flowers are valued. Do not gift anything made of leather to Hindus. Check if your host drinks alcohol (some Muslims do not) and if he does give him high quality alcohol. Gifts should not be packaged in black or white since those colors are associated with bad luck.


  Middle East – Appropriate gifts include souvenirs, flowers, sugar products and engraved golden pens. A high class compass showing the direction of Mecca can be valued highly. Depictions of dogs and pigs should be avoided, as these animals are considered impure.


  Australia – People of British descent would appreciate high quality tea, jam, scotch, biscuits and so on. Businessmen from Asia or Europe will obviously enjoy gifts from their own countries.