Essential Fact of the Month: Appropriateness of Giving a Gift
The question of gifts is complex and policy should be set by senior management. In some cultures the presentation of a small gift to customers is normal, in others the same practice would be considered an overt bribe. Gifts can certainly help to cement a business relationship.
Where gifts are to be presented, exporters should ensure that:
- Offence will not be caused by doing so
- The value of the gift is appropriate. To keep costs down small, quality gifts should be provides rather than large shoddy items
- They reach the right person
- The donor’s company details are shown on the gift if appropriate
- Where possible the gift has a bearing on the export product itself (easier for consumer items)
Gift lists should be limited to realistic proportions. Once a company embarks on a gift policy it is difficult to stop and expense can build up considerably. The image of the company will be damaged if it becomes necessary to reduce the value, size or quality of gifts presented to customers.