hábitos e costumes savilog

How to deal with foreign habits and traditions when exporting?

There is one certainty when trying to explore international markets in search of potential customers, which is to come across the difference in habits and traditions between nations, which becomes even more exacerbated when continents are crossed. This cultural difference is even greater because of the evolution and historical delay that took for long journeys and exchanges to be possible in humanity.

There are consumer markets for practically everything that is manufactured in Brazil and in the world, so it is necessary that the export manager understands that probably its buying public will be found in very different places compared to its country of origin and, as if that were not enough, the legislation and custom rules of the country of destination shall probably be different too.

Why export

Trade between nations exists because no country is self-sufficient. Brazil, for example, has a vast territory and produces several items, mostly related to food, but also primary items, which will be destined for export.

Examples are soy, rice, sugar, coffee, orange juice, beef, chicken and pork, coconut water, as well as steel, iron ore, cotton, paper, and cellulose, among many others. These are the products that keep Brazil’s trade balance always positive, because although they do not have high added value, they are sent abroad in large quantities.

Internal instabilities, seasonality, market diversification, favorable floating exchange rates, markets with high purchasing power, globalization, and brand expansion are just some of the advantages that exports offer to Brazilian companies.

Who can export?

Any company that produces something in Brazil can export, as long as it has its legal obligations in place. In addition to the companies that carry out their operations directly, there are consortia of companies to facilitate the search for customers and understanding of customs barriers.

Another facilitator is Correios (Brazilian national postal service), which offers a model for sending abroad called Exporta Fácil (which can be translated into “export easily”), whose objective is to help companies that are starting or that do not have experience in the process.

Companies that want to start with exports do not necessarily need to be enrolled in the Federal Revenue system known as RADAR. They can hire a Trading Company that is, without incurring illegalities.


What are the most wanted destinations by exporters?

Brazil is a champion of exports to countries in the Middle East and Asia, heavy consumers of Brazilian meat, and Latin America, destination for industrialized products produced by Brazilian companies, either by national industries or by subsidiaries of American and European companies that use the country as a local production hub.

To Europe, Brazil exports a large amount of fruit, and to the United States food in general, such as fish and some meats, in addition, of course, to the açaí berry, famous all over the world.

How to find international clients?

There are several ways to find a potential international client. Selling to him is another story, as from the initial prospecting to the closing itself may take a long time. Distance is a factor in delays and objections, as the product needs to be seen, trust needs to be built, warranty agreements need to be signed, payment, production and delivery dates need to be established, and many other details.

International fairs are good methods to find potential buyers and get used to their culture, which is something practically impossible to achieve in the virtual environment. At these international events, companies take samples of products and trust can be strengthened more quickly, as it is possible to be sure that the person with whom you are used to speak only by phone/internet really exists.

Sales portals such as Alibaba (the largest in the world) are also good places to find buyers, as they often verify the company, or at least some part of it, and offer an interesting sale protection program, assuring the buyer that the product will be delivered as agreed and the seller that payment will be made.


What foreign habits and traditions influence exports

Exporting to a country with totally different habits and traditions is a challenge. Often, it’s not just religious or food habits, but also changes in the calendar and even working days of the week. In fact, the calendar itself can be totally different from the western one, which is used in Brazil.

In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the week literally starts on Sunday and ends Thursday. The weekend is made up of Friday and Saturday, so if you need to talk to the importer on a Brazilian Friday, he probably won’t be working because it’s his weekend.

At the same time, in Muslim places it is common to stop anything being done for prayer. So, it is common for the buyer to say his prayer even when he is in a meeting with you. They usually excuse themselves and leave, regardless of anything. The goods sell will also need to undergo a cultural adaptation, for example the case of chicken meat, the way the birds are slaughtered needs to follow the Muslim religion principles.

On the other hand, in Asian countries buyers tend to respect sellers more if they are the same age and gender, while in others a male buyer may refuse to talk to a female seller.


Each nation has its own customs and habits, which may have been developed by ancestors who lived in that region or taken by settlers. These practices pass from generation to generation and directly influence the business world.

It is important to know a little about the local culture before starting export planning to any destination, because due to such a difference the product may not be accepted, or the buyer may not like the way a company negotiates and decide not to buy.

So, did you know all these points? Leave your comments and suggestions so we can continue the conversation.