Buenos Aires, Argentina
Value Added Tax
➤ VAT is 21 percent, and it is charged on most items purchased. Exhibitors can avoid paying VAT on imported exhibit properties under the Argentine Temporary Admission Regime (TAR), a tax-waiver program for items temporarily in the country.
➤ Buenos Aires operates on 220 volts, and typical electric sockets accept plugs with three flat prongs.
➤ Garbage generated during I&D is often removed by show organizers.
➤ Booth cleaning can be ordered from the show organizer, and exhibitors may be charged a fee for common-area maintenance and garbage handling during the show.
➤ Cellphone rental is expensive, so use a disposable phone preloaded with talk time.
➤ Have a local supplier purchase SIM cards for you.
➤ Sending your shipments to Buenos Aires via airfreight takes four to six days; ocean freight takes five to eight weeks.
➤ Due to recent policy changes, importing items into Argentina is exceedingly difficult, requires detailed paperwork, and should be avoided.
➤ Clearing customs often takes 10 days for airfreight and one month for ocean freight.
➤ Use a local freight forwarder and customs-clearing agent familiar with the regulations.
➤ Royalties are often collected by the show organizer on behalf of the Argentine Society of Music Authors and Composers.
➤ Permission to play music should be obtained from show organizers; volume restrictions are enforced.
➤ Dial 911 for the police department.
➤ Dial 107 for medical emergencies.
Greetings and Culture
➤ A handshake with a friendly "Hello" is appropriate for men and women. It is customary to kiss familiar women on the right cheek on subsequent meetings. Men may also kiss each other on the right cheek in less formal relationships.
➤ Argentinians typically require less personal space than people from North America.
➤ A less-than-firm handshake may be perceived as disinterest by Argentinians, and you should shake hands both when initiating and departing a conversation.
➤ Making friendly conversation before talking business is the best way to approach potential clients in Buenos Aires. Sports are a particularly favored conversation starter.
➤ In-booth hospitality is common in large exhibits. Hot and cold beverages, sandwiches, canapĂ©s, and alcohol are often served.
➤ Off-site business dinners are customary in Buenos Aires and typically preferred to breakfast or lunch meetings.
➤ English is sometimes spoken in the business community, but you will need a translator in your booth during show hours.
➤ Signs, business cards, and literature must be printed in Spanish and English.
➤ Business suits in conservative colors such as black, gray, and navy are common for both men and women.
➤ In most industries, women have more latitude to wear a range of colors than men, and they are typically dressed more stylishly than their male counterparts.
➤ Women should avoid wearing short skirts or shirts with low necklines, though high heels are common.
➤ Piercings and tattoos should be concealed.
Venues and Resources
➤ La Rural Predio Ferial de Buenos Aires is the main exhibit venue, with 500,000 square feet of pavilions and meeting facilities and 107,000 square feet of outdoor exhibition area. It is located in a tourist neighborhood near central Buenos Aires with many hotels and restaurants, and is 28 miles from Ministro Pistarini International Airport.
➤ Centro Costa Salguero Exhibition Center has 215,000 square feet of exhibit space in six pavilions and 430,000 square feet of outdoor exhibition areas. The surrounding area is undeveloped for tourism and lacks public transportation. It is located approximately 25 miles from Ministro Pistarini International Airport.
➤ The Association of Organizers and Providers for Expositions, Congresses, and Events (AOCA) is a network of exhibition organizers and suppliers throughout Argentina (www.aoca.org.ar
Installation and Dismantle
➤ There are no labor unions in Buenos Aires, and workers are typically available through the show organizer or an exhibit builder.
➤ Exhibitors may set up their own booths, but should not attempt to hire local workers without going through a reputed vendor, as workers need insurance and proper documentation.
➤ A certified electrician must install all electrical components.
➤ The vast majority of local workers do not speak English, so have one bilingual worker in the booth at all times during I&D.
➤ All exhibiting materials must be treated with a fireproofing substance, and fire extinguishers may be required based on the square footage of the exhibit. Refer to the exhibit manual for specifications.
General Facts and Tips
➤ Argentinians are generally friendly and like to discuss their families and other nonbusiness matters. Building a personal relationship is important to business dealings.
➤ Traditional Argentinian fare includes asado (barbecued meat), milanesas (breaded meat), and fugazetta pizza (cheese with onions).
➤ Public transportation is affordable and convenient, but a hired car called a "remise" is the most advised method of travel. For safety's sake, only use taxis arranged in advance through your hotel, or cars bearing a "radio-taxi" sign.
➤ Laptops and cellphones should be registered at customs on arrival and guarded closely during your stay, as theft from public spaces and hotel rooms can be an issue.
➤ Many areas of Buenos Aires are considered unsafe, and walking alone anywhere except heavily touristed areas and attractions should be avoided.
➤ Visitors from the United States should refer to themselves as North Americans rather than simply calling themselves American.
➤ Buenos Aires has a relatively mild, temperate climate, but local attire and customs tend toward the conservative.
Fabricio Amilibia, manager, AAG Workshop, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Ben Einer, global marketing professional, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Jeannine Swan, president, Global Exhibit Management, Fort Worth, TX; Bernardo Szulanski, CEO, Quiken, Buenos Aires