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Business Communication of Cuba

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Business Communication Report
—Cuba intercultural difference

Author:Liu XiaoLu
Written for:Elisa Szabo
Purpose:Diploma of enterprise Business communications intergraded assignment
Due date: 30/03/2012

Letter of Transmittal:
Miss Liu
Sichuan University
32 Ke Hua Bei Lu

Miss Szabo – Director
Costless Clothes Company
Sichuan University

14 March 2012

Dear Miss Szabo.

Thank you for spending time on reading this report.
Please find attached our detailed report which deals with cultural differences between administration staff and Cuban customers.
Thank you for giving administration department some feedback to improve business with Cuban customers in the future.
Yours Sincerely

Liu XiaoLu
Table of Content:

Letter of Transmittal: 2 Table of Content: 3 Synopsis: 3 Introduction: 4 Background: 4 Scope: 4 Business Language 5 Social Customs 6 Clothing and Food Etiquette 8 Religious beliefs 9 Ethics 9 Economic climate 10 Political climate 10 Law 11 General import regulations and requirements 11 Import customs tariff 11 Samples, Low Value and Non-Commercial Importations 11 General import license/permit requirements 12 Prohibited or highly restricted imports 12 Commercial invoice 12 Packing list 13 Certificate of Origin (general) 14 Standards 14 Culture value 15 Development business communication 16 Reference 17

This report investigated that administration department into culture differences between China and Cuba to better proved knowledge of intercultural difference. It found out that to do business with Cubans is not difficult due to the many similarities such as values and politic climate, but we also need to know more about Cuba.

Cuba is an island country located in the northern Caribbean Sea. This country established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China in 1960, which was the first one in Latin America nations (MOF, 2011). In 2008, China and Cuba had two-sided trade worth 2.2 U.S. dollars (Li, 2009). Costless clothing company also has been doing business with Cuba; however, our administration department should understand culture differences and respect Cuban customs.
* Business language * Social customs * Clothing and food etiquette * Religious beliefs * Ethics * Economic climate * Political climate * Law * Culture value * Development business communication

Business Language
Cuban use Spanish as government business and English as business language. When our administration department staffs communicate with Cuban customers, English is practical. So knowing some basic Spanish can be useful when doing business with Cuban. There are some greetings in Spanish as table shows. Spanish | English | Details | Hola | Hello | Suit for both formal and informal contexts. | Adiós | Goodbye | Sometimes spelled ciao, from Italian. | Muy bien | Very well, thank you. | |
(Erichsen, 2012)
Recommendation: Our staff must speak English fluently and know a little Spanish, for example, an administration receptionist needs be able to say a little simple Spanish for greetings to leave a good impression to clients

Social Customs
General customs: Cuba is well known for 3 things: communism; sports and music. However, Cubans value traditional customs than many foreigners, for example, food, arts and festival are important to Cubans. (Calder, 2012)
Sport: The Cuban people enjoy sports with a lot of enthusiasm. The national sport is baseball, and boxing is very popular as well, the country has won 23 medals and other world titles for the Olympic Games. (MapXL Inc., 1999)
Music: Cuba music is influence by Africa, Spain, and Latin-America and American pop music, such as Son, Rumba and Jazz Cubano. (Yo Mambo, 2002)
Festivals: There are numbers of great events going though the year of Cuba. The island becomes a centre of dance, art and music when festivals coming in and some of them have been carnivals of Caribbean.
This graph will introduce top 5 festivals. International Jazz Festival | There are plenty of jazz festivals in Cuba, but the biggest is the International Jazz Festival, held every February in Havana. | Havana Carnival | July is Carnival season in Cuba mean street parties, floats, processions, dancing, music, and plenty of Cuban rum! | Santiago de Cuba Carnival | The whole city seems to turn into crazy in July each year, and the carnival in this city attracts the biggest crowd on the island. | Las Parrandas de Remedios | A festival on the 24th of December. Each neighborhood competes to construct the float, surrounded by lanterns and kites, and on the evening of Christmas Eve the two sides go head to head in a parade, accompanied by a spectacular fireworks display. | International Havana Ballet Festival | Cuba may be more famous for Salsa and Mambo than for ballet, but the International Havana Ballet Festival, which runs from the 24th of October to the 6th of November every two years, is a major international event for ballet lovers. |
(Lelliott, 2007)
Recommendation: Obviously, we cannot contract Cuban during holiday. As administration staff we also have to keep a watchful eye on Cuban festivals and send e-mails to congratulate them.
Eye contact: Cubans tend direct eye contact, in conversations, looking at eyes shows respect to the speaker.
Gestures: Cubans have habits to speak quickly and loudly, they would like to use hands and bodies for express when talking.
Puckering up his nose usually means “what?”
Cubans will point by wrinkling their lips in a direction or person that they are referring to.
Greetings: At first meeting Cubans generally shake hands with direct eye contact. If they are friends or family, women would like to share a light kiss on the cheek, men usually have a hug.
Gender issues: Women are often expected to do housework and raise up children even many women have jobs now. It is acceptable for women walk alone on the street at night. (Landers, 2012)
Proxemics in basics: There are two kinds of proxemics space in normal life. 1. Personal space: ranges between half a meter to a meter, it is used among friends and families. 2. Intimate space: ranges from zero to half a meter, this is the space for whispering and embracing. (Grossman, 2004)
Recommendation: Administration staff needs to meet customers very often, if you do not know the rules which they do in daily life, it will make your customers unhappy because of misunderstanding. One of the suggestions is to write those rules down and re-read it before meeting.

Clothing and Food Etiquette
In Cuba, dress is not quite formal for both men and women. For Men, wearing Guayabera shirt with slacks when doing business, for women, a pair of pants, skirts and jeans are all acceptable (Landers, 2012).
Food in Cuban daily life is simple. Rice and beans as staple food are collocated fried plantains and vegetables. They prefer pork and chicken due to it are more economical than beef. Cubans are very fond of sweets. Cubans believe that a kind of national ice cream manufacturer called “Copelia” is the best worldwide. (Calder, 2012)
Recommendation: Staff can dress business casual when have meetings with Cubans. When conferees have a meal with Cuban they must tolerant simple and cheep food, do not complain food because no host will consider it is polite.

Religious beliefs
In history, religious is not as influential as other neighboring counties, therefore, Cuban would not choose Catholic which was a religious they did not understand. Nowadays, Catholic followers expanded since 1990s, for instance, Pope John Paul Ⅱ came to Cuba and was welcomed to the crowds in January 1998.
Cuba is not allowed racial discrimination since the revolution established an egalitarianism society. (Calder, 2012)
Recommendation: According to research, many Cubans believe Catholic in modern times. Additionally, most of Chinese in young generations have no religious. Thus, knowing Catholic and respect it is necessary. Do not discriminate blacks.
The ethics from Cuba is civic which refers to the principle and ideals which were created in Cuba Revolution, in the other words, promotion of socialism. The reason is that the establishing of this country is based on Marxist-Leninist ideology. It does not mean Cuba refused business, Cubans want economic transformations in the country to improve their life to make the ethic of socialism come true. (Valdés, 2012)
Recommendation: Fortunately, China has the same situation with Cuba, so it is easy to understand their ethics, but it is better to do not talk about socialism when doing business.

Economic climate
As this report motioned, Cuba is a socialism country, of course the basic economic is socialist. In fact, because of the force of economic globalization, the government has changed laws to allowed private business trade since 1992. Cuba economy is based on agriculture, especially tobacco and coffee which have hampered the diversification of economy. The industry is also underdeveloped, government wanted to grow national industry to decrees import, but this is useless because Cuba is lacks fuel. In recent years, tourism has become a new activity for earning money. (Calder, 2012)
Recommendation: China is a socialism country too but our economic situation is greater than Cuba, it can be said that what Cuban is doing is what Chinese have done, therefore, it is easily to understand Cuban economic. However, due to opposite side’s unstable economic environment, the risk of trading with Cuban should be considered seriously.
Political climate
The ideals of the revolution are supported by a majority of the population. They do not want neocolonial status under the United States, nor do they long for the gulf between wealth and poor that produced by capitalism, which is another similarity with China. For social security, the state used to be a highly militarized society, government take advantage of Cuban people to gossip and spy on their neighbors, purposed to repress terrorist activity, but now it has turned into better because humanitarian force. (Calder, 2012)
Recommendation: Whatever you believe socialism or not, do not talk about it with Cuban is a perfect choice; actually Cubans will not talk about it in business.

General import regulations and requirements 1. An approved customs broker must handle all customs transactions. 2. A Spanish translation of all documents is required. 3. Import and export transactions in Cuba are primarily controlled by state trading organizations (under the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Trade) called "empresas." Each holds a monopoly over a particular area of trade. 4. Goods may be inspected upon or after importation. If discrepancies are found, goods may be confiscated and/or import privileges suspended.
Import customs tariff
For imports from most-favored nations, duty rates average 10-11 percent; maximum is 30%. Otherwise duty rates may be slightly higher (average 17 percent). Additional taxes/surcharges such as sales tax, consular fees, and port charges may apply.
Samples, Low Value and Non-Commercial Importations 1. Samples may enter free of duty if imported by agents for temporary exhibition, or by foreign trade commission merchants or representatives of authorized companies. 2. Commercial invoice is required. 3. Commercial advertising matter may only be distributed through foreign trade organizations or a chamber of commerce.
General import license/permit requirements 1. Cuba does not require import licenses. 2. However, goods can typically only be imported into Cuba by government entities and joint ventures with a permit to import the products.
Prohibited or highly restricted imports 1. lottery or raffle tickets; 2. counterfeit money, bank notes, or Cuban currency; 3. condensed milk; 4. food products not conforming to food laws; 5. products made in prisons or by forced labor; 6. artificial or altered wine that is not medicinal; 7. unregistered pharmaceutical products and medicines; 8. heroin-derived drugs; 9. narcotics; 10. anesthetics; 11. "preservalina" and similar products used as a food preservative; 12. Any products considered harmful to the general well-being of the nation.
Commercial invoice 1. Required for commercial shipments. In general, they should conform to the information requirements described in this definition of commercial invoice. 2. This invoice may be in English accompanied by a Spanish translation.
Provide the number of original signed copies, requested by the Cuban customer, and forward to the consignee or consignee's agent. 3. The contract number must be included on the invoice. 4. Include gross and net weights in metric system units. 5. A notation signed by an authorized person must accompany any erasures or changes to the invoice calculations. 6. The back of the invoice must carry this signed and dated statement: "The undersigned, seller of the merchandise described in this commercial invoice, hereby declares that all the facts contained herein are true and exact, that the prices of said merchandise have not been altered by means of supposed discounts, that no other person has been given or will be given another invoice, account, or receipt because of this shipment, nor any other document for a value greater than that stated herein in writing, and that said merchandise is the product of the land (or industry) of (name of the country)." 7. For more information on preparing and distributing commercial invoices, see topics under GIST net headings: Commercial Invoice and
Shipping Document Distribution Based on Specific Functional Needs. 8. For airfreight shipments, the airwaybill (AWB) is used in place of the bill of lading and, in most cases, documents should accompany the cargo. 9. For non-commercial shipments, prepare a pro-forma invoice. 10. Exporters should confirm with their customer regarding any required chamber of commerce certification.
Packing list 1. Recommended. May be required for shipments to foreign trade companies and other authorized organizations. 2. Although not always required by regulations, a packing list is recommended for use to expedite customs clearance at the port of entry for all shipments containing more than one shipping unit.
It should clearly identify the contents of each shipping package with a description including both the gross weight and net weight – in metric system units – and the shipping marks and numbers.
Provide at least three (3) copies as part of the shipping documents sent to the consignee or the agent thereof.
The information on the packing list must be consistent with all information shown on the commercial invoice or proforma invoice. 3. A Spanish translation is required for any shipping document submitted in English.
Certificate of Origin (general) 1. A Certificate of Origin is required for merchandise imported under most-favored-nation or other preferential treatment. 2. Prepare the C/O in three (3) copies using the general Certificate of Origin (CO, C/O) form. 3. If prepared in English, it must be accompanied by a Spanish language translation. 4. Generally, these are certified by a recognized chamber of commerce that usually requires one additional, notarized copy for its files.
1. Certain products must meet Cuban standards before they can be imported into Cuba. 2. Information about standards can be obtained from the Oficina Nacional de Normalización (National Bureau of Standards) 3. Calle E, No. 261, entre 11 y 13, Vedado, Havana 10400 phone: +53 7 830 0879, and +53 7 830 0891; fax: +53 7 836 8048; e-mail: (GSIT, 2011)
Recommendation: Reading those regulations carefully. As administration staffs we need to keep remind other staffs to abiding by the law.

Culture value * Difference: Time orientation
Generally, North Americans are keen to ‘get down to business’ and not waste time, in opposite, people from Asia see time as unending and unlimited and they tend to be patient. Therefore, Cubans are urgent time orientation but Chinese are casual time orientation.
Recommendation: It is necessary to be on time in business for our Chinese.

* Similarities: Collectivism, Power distance, Uncertainty avoidance, Formality
According to an interview, when asked what a Cuban is, “I would reply that he/she should be like The Che, who is an example of all those values, solidarity, honesty, authenticity, and all the other things that make his personality unique” (Valdés, 2012). Thus, it is no difference between Chinese and Cuban.
We both have high power distance that we usually accept the boss making a decision.
Cubans are more want a certain futures, so do Chinese.
When remembering our history, we always feel proud and united in our ancients struggled against foreign dominations, which is not only for Chinese but also for Cubans. Therefore, we both have high levels of formality.
Recommendation: We have more similarities than differences; it is easy to identify with another’s value. Hopefully, we can have nice corporations with Cubans.

Development business communication
Gift giving: Normally Cubans do not bring gifts when first meeting. When giving gifts, it is best to bring something very modest.
Meetings: It is important to arrive on time although you may wait for Cubans half hour or more. Before going down business, there is often 5-15 minutes of small talk, waiting for host to begin business discussion is more polite. It is acceptable to interrupt speakers.
Negotiations: It is advisable to avoid hard selling, pressure tactics and any sort of conflict or confrontation, due to Cubans value relationship building and harmony. Making decisions always cost a long time. (Landers, cuba, 2012)
Proxemics in business:
Public Space: ranges between 4 to 15 meters, this is the distance between audience and speaker. When doing presentation to Cubans, this distance is necessary.
Social space: ranges between 1 meter and 3 meters, it is often used in business communication. (Grossman, 2004)
Recommendation: Try to remember these rules and do it; do not make you customers unhappy because of misunderstanding.

This report has discussed the culture differences and similarity between China and Cuba. Obviously, the two countries have more similarities than differences, so what should administration staff in Costless Clothing Company do is to respect these culture differences in every aspect such as holding meetings, arranging dinners and congratulate festivals. Therefore, staffs must understand Cuban culture very well and respect Cuban customers, and then dealing business with Cuban will be no problem.

Calder, S. (2012). Countries and Their Cultures.
Retrieved from everyculture: Erichsen, G. (2012). Greetings Spanish for Beginners.
Retrieved from Spanish Language: Grossman, L. (2004). Highlighting query terms: proxemics.
Retrieved from GSIT. (2011). Cuba: Import (general).
Retrieved from gist net: Landers, M. (2012). cuba.
Retrieved from culturecrossing: Lelliott, E. (2007). Top 5 Cuban Festivals.
Retrieved from ezine articles: Li, X. (2009). China, Cuba discuss economic cooperation.
Retrieved from chinagovernment: MapXL Inc. (1999). Sports in Cuba.
Retrieved from maps of world: MOF. (2011). Economic and trade relations between China and Cuba.
Retrieved from Ministry of Commerce of the Peoole's Republic of China: Valdés, L. P.-B. (2012). Running head: APPLIED ETHICS IN CUBA.
Retrieved from Yo Mambo. (2002). Cuban Music 101.
Retrieved from Mamborama:

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