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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an oil-rich Middle East

federation comprised of seven emirates (sheikdoms).
Ranked fourth in the world in oil resources.
One of the globe's hottest tourist destinations.
The UAE has one of the world's fastest-growing economies.
It's a country with both a record-setting building boom and a
still-vibrant Bedouin culture.
It has luxury Western-style resorts, cutting-edge architecture,
and international cuisine, but many of its enduring customs
reflect the beliefs of the largely Muslim population.
Formerly known as the Trucial States, the United Arab
Emirates are a federation of seven individual states, all ruled
by emirs.
Founded between the 7th and 8th centuries, the Trucial States
granted the United Kingdom control of their defense and
foreign affairs in treaties signed in the 19th century.
With British protection, acts of piracy declined allowing the
pearl industry to thrive and generate income and employment
to citizens along the Persian Gulf.
The UAE has one of the world's fastest-growing
Prior to the first exports of oil in 1962, the U.A.E.
economy was dominated by pearl production, fishing,
agriculture, and herding.
As a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the
U.A.E. participates in a wide range of GCC activities that
focus on economic issues which includes regular
consultations and development of common policies
covering trade, investment, banking and finance,
transportation, telecommunications, and other technical
areas, including protection of intellectual property rights.

While the U.A.E. has worked to strengthen its federal
institutions since achieving independence, each emirate still
retains substantial autonomy.
A basic concept in the U.A.E. Government's development as a
federal system is that a significant percentage of each emirate's
revenues should be devoted to the U.A.E. central budget.
It has no political parties, the rulers hold power on the basis of
their dynastic position and their legitimacy in a system of
tribal consensus.
The U.A.E. is a member of the United Nations and the Arab
League has established diplomatic relations with more than 60
countries, including the U.S., Japan, Russia, the People's
Republic of China, and most western European countries.
It has played a moderate role in the Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries, the Organization of Arab Petroleum
Exporting Countries, the United Nations, and the GCC.
It is a member of many international organizations.
It is also a member of the International Renewable Energy
The U.A.E. falls in a dry area extending from across Asia and
North Africa.
It is also subject to the same regional climatic conditions on
the coast of the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
The countrys high and severe temperature in the summer is
linked to the noticeable rise of humidity then, as there is a big
climate difference between the coastal areas, land-locked
desert regions, mountainous areas that collectively represent
the countrys terrain.
The country suffers from rains scarcity just like the other
countries in the dry region.
The U.A.E. enjoys a mixed main geographical condition.
They are the mountainous high lands that covers a small area
relatively and a valley areas that covers more than 92% of the
The UAE terrain varies greatly from low coastal areas that
contain mash, much sand and islands as well as dots of land-
locked desert areas, which characterize most of the country.
Islam is the official religion because of the
relatively small indigenous population
[especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi].
The official language is Arabic but Farsi heavily
influences the local dialect, making it sound
strange at first.
English, Farsi, Urdu and Hindi are also widely
I slam Religion has played an important and influential role
in shaping the society and culture of the UAE. Islam is the
official and majority religion and pervades almost every aspect
of life.
Family Family and tribal connections form the basis of
Emirati social structure. The family and tribe are highly
influential and play a role in shaping a persons values and
Hospitality Hospitality is an essential part of Emirati culture
and applies to both social and professional contexts. Guests
will be received with enormous generosity.
The working week traditionally starts on Saturday and
ends on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are the official
days of rest, though in some cases, people will work
Thursday and take off Saturday instead.
Meetings should be scheduled in advance with extra time
allocated in case it should go on longer or start later than
Attitudes to time in the UAE are much more relaxed than
in many Western cultures.

There is a strong vertical hierarchy in most Emirati companies.
Many are owned and run by one powerful person who makes
all of the decisions.
Age, money and family connections are all key determining
factors of a persons status. Who you are is usually more
important than what you have achieved.
Status is important and must be recognised by using the
correct title such as Shaikh (chief), Mohandas (engineer) and
Ustadh (professor).
When first meeting a group of people, it is important that you
shake hands and greet the most senior person first. Usually the
oldest person in the room has the most seniority.
Working relationships
People in the UAE prefer to do business in person.
Relationships and mutual trust are paramount for any
successful business interaction and can only be developed
through face-to-face meetings.
It is important to have connections to someone in the UAE
who can introduce you before attempting to do business there
on your own.
Family and friends come before anything else. As a result, it is
not uncommon for an Emirati to reschedule or cancel
something to accommodate their needs or wishes.
Generally, businesses in the U.A.E open at about nine in the
morning, close for most of the afternoon and then re-open
from late afternoon until mid-evening.
Government offices and banks open an hour or so earlier with
the former not re-opening in the evening and the latter closing
finally in the early evening.
The importance attached to courtesy and hospitality can cause
delays that prevent keeping to a strict schedule. It is therefore
customary to make appointments for times of day rather than
precise hours.
Unlike elsewhere in Arabia, it is inappropriate [in some places
even illegal] for foreigners to wear local garb. The reason is
that the preponderance of foreign residents can lead to them
impersonating nationals merely by dress.
Appropriate business dress for men is shirt and trousers during
the day with collar and tie in the evening.
Bush suits are also popular and suitable for the climate.
Ladies need not dress quite so modestly as elsewhere in Arabia
but should still be careful not to offend by wearing anything
too revealing.

Men should avoid touching and prolonged eye contact with
Muslim women.
It is considered improper to inquire about a mans wife or
It is polite to ask about family or health, but never specifically
about any female members.
Family life that involves female members is kept extremely
When visiting religious sites, women must also cover their
In some circumstances shoes should be removed, such as at
the entrance to religious sites.


It is the position of the host to set the subject of conversation at
the outset.
If others were present before your arrival, he will tell you the
subject of prevailing conversation and invite you to contribute.
Be forthcoming but always polite.
Do not be afraid to disagree but, having made your point, give
him the opportunity for rebuttal.
Conversational manners should, therefore, adapt to the
nationality of the host, which could be anything except Israeli.
Business practices in the UAE
The customary greeting is As-salamalaikum, (peace be upon
you) to which the reply is Waalaikum as-salam, (and upon
you be peace).
When entering a meeting, general introductions will begin
with a handshake. However avoid shaking hands with a
woman unless they extend their hand first.
They are generally long in duration and discussions are
conducted at a leisurely pace over tea and coffee.
Business cards are common but not essential to Emirati
business culture. If you do intend to use business cards whilst
in the UAE, ensure that the information is printed in both
English and Arabic.

Addressing others with respect
The use of first names denotes more familiarity than in the
west, 'Sayyed' is borrowed for this purpose in correspondence.
'Bin' [or ben or ibn], preceding a name, particularly a middle
name, means 'son of.' 'Bint' [daughter of] is the female form.
The perfect level of friendliness without undue familiarity in
any Arab society is achieved by the use of the kunya.
Members of ruling families are addressed as His/Your
Highness [Samu al-Emir].
The titles Doctor, Shaikh [chief], Mohandas [engineer] and
Ustadh [professor] are used, as on the Continent, in both the
literal and honorific senses. 'Shaikh' should always be used the
same as a knighthood in English--applied only to the first
name, never the surname.

Meeting & Greeting
It is important to greet and acknowledge the most senior
person in the room first.
When doing business in the Middle East, handshakes are
always used and can last a long time. Etiquette recommends
that one waits for the other to withdraw their hand first before
doing the same.
Always use the right hand. Among Muslims, the left hand is
reserved for bodily hygiene and considered unclean. The right
hand should be used for eating, shaking hands, or handing over
an item.
Special respect is paid to older people in many circumstances.
This can include standing when older people enter a room,
always greeting older people first, standing when speaking to
ones elders, and serving older people first at a meal.

Gift Giving
Gifts constitute a greater problem in the UAE than in most
other countries because virtually everything can be purchased
there less expensively than anywhere else in the world.
Never buy gold jewellery or silk garments for men, as both are
deemed effeminate in Islam.
Platinum is most acceptable but, as it can be confused with
white gold, silver is safer, provided that it is properly
hallmarked by a government authority.
Traditional perfume is the gift most appreciated by Arabians,
perfume should be given to women only by other women or
close relatives.
Negotiating Etiquette
Generally, one need only satisfy financial criteria to open a
business there, with the result that most businesses are foreign
owned and run.
If the room is carpeted, the visitor should remove his shoes
and leave them outside to avoid bringing in impurities and
thereby rendering the carpet ritually unclean for prayer.
The visitor should not change the subject of conversation
except by logical opportunity or invitation.
Once seated, crossing legs is perfectly acceptable, provided
one does not direct the sole of the foot to an individual, which
is a 'go away' gesture.

Pace of Business

Business proceeds at two rates--snail's pace and light speed.
There seems to be nothing in between, which discourages
foreigners by making it impossible to judge progress until
work is in hand.
After several lengthy but fruitless visits, the western
businessman may suddenly arrive to find his work required
'overnight.' Negotiations must therefore be swift, but not
necessarily easy.

Entertaining for business success
Locals habitually entertain at home but, as a concession to
western custom, they will often accept a foreigner's invitation
to a hotel or restaurant.
hospitality is merely a courtesy and should not be interpreted
as a harbinger of commercial success.
When the visitor is entertaining in a restaurant or hotel, tipping
is the same as in Europe; ten percent over and above the
service charge if merited. Also as in most of Europe, it is not
customary to tip taxi drivers.
Sharing a meal is the universal best way for people to get to
know one another.

Business etiquette (Do's and
DO address your Emirati counterparts with the appropriate
titles followed by his or her first name. If unsure, it is best to
get the names and correct form of address of those you will be
doing business with before hand.
DO dress conservatively. While the UAE is more Westernised
than many other Middle Eastern countries and therefore home
to many Western style clothes, it is still important to dress
modestly. As a sign of respect, men should wear a conservative
suit and women should ensure their clothing covers their legs
and arms.
DO accept an invitation to a meal or social event.
Relationships are an integral part of doing business in the
Emirates. Spending time with your Emirati counterparts is the
best way to build trust and mutual understanding.

DONT schedule business meetings during prayer times or any
of the major Islamic holidays such as Ramadan or Eid. These
are extremely important periods for the majority of native
Emiratis who are Muslims. Business is usually put on hold
during these occasions as it is a time for reflection and
DONT expect a one-on-one meeting to only include yourself
and the other person. Often there will be other people present
in the office or meeting room waiting their turn to meet with
that person. When you arrive, it is polite to greet the person,
take a seat and accept any coffee served until it is your turn.
DONT assume that the person who asks the most questions in
meetings holds the most responsibility. In the UAE, this
person is considered to be the least respected or least
important. The decision maker is usually a silent observer and
will only speak when discussions come to a close