Cross-cultural communication, knowledge and understanding are of critical importance to all international executives and employees. In Japan, it is vital always to hand over a business card with both hands, while in Spain time is often viewed more flexibly. In Brazil, personal contact is key.
Brazil is Norway’s most important partner in Latin America, and the third-largest investment target for Norwegian businesses, behind the EU and the USA. Major oil and gas finds off Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo promise to make Brazil one of the world’s largest oil producers, and suppliers to the offshore and maritime industries are already key players in trade between Norway and Brazil. In addition, Norwegian businesses are playing an increasingly prominent role in the Brazilian shipping, ship-building, aluminium, hydropower and infrastructure sectors. Today, more than 100 Norwegian companies have a local presence in Brazil.
Brazil offers great opportunities, but can also present companies with difficulties related to bureaucracy and cultural differences, so thorough research is advisable. Brazil is ranked 123rd in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business index, while Norway is ranked sixth. A long-term perspective is therefore vital. Seek the advice of experienced people, and do not underestimate the complexities involved in investing in Brazil.
Advice from Innovation Norway:
- Build confidence among your partners. Be aware that this may take time.
- A local presence is crucial.
- Be aware of corruption challenges.
- The cultural code is important.
- Check in with the Norwegian “network consultant”. Ask for references from previous employers.