Lebanese Business Culture
Lebanon is a Middle Eastern country situated close to Israel and Syria and lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. It is this melting pot of people and culture that makes Lebanon such a fascinating place for business. If you are heading there for business, here are some points to consider.
Half the population is Muslim and therefore Muslim customs heavily influence business practices. All eating, drinking, exchanging of items for example should be done with the right hand only. If you are left handed, you may have to practice doing things with your right hand to prevent cultural misunderstanding.
Personal space between 2 individuals of the same gender is typical smaller than what people from other parts of the world are accustomed to. No matter how uncomfortable it may be to have a host standing so close to you, do not give in to the temptation to step away. This is considered as bad manners.
When giving small gifts, be mindful of Islamic laws that forbid certain items like alcohol. Also be careful complimenting your host on his possession. He is likely to insist on giving it to you and may be offended if you refuse.
Lebanese law requires that all foreign business contacts work through local agents. It is relatively easy to find agents who have contacts with the parties you are interested to do business with. However, good agents usually command 5 to 8% of the transactions.
Learn more about Lebanese law and custom here.