Setting Up A Business

Business Etiquette

What should I wear?

There are no restrictions on dress code. During the day people doing business wear suits and ties. Women may dress as they please, although it is polite to dress modestly.

How should I greet people?

When doing business always shake hands, using the right hand. If you are a man and are introduced to a woman, you should let the woman offer to shake hands.

What about hospitality?

Drinking Arabic coffee together is a symbol of harmony and trust. Served in tiny porcelain cups, coffee should be taken with the right hand. When you want no further refills, signal that you have finished by shaking your cup slightly from side to side and handing it back.

How should I conduct meetings?

In the Middle East, initial meetings are often devoted to establishing trust. Much time may be spent on light conversation before embarking on business matters. You should be aware that business decisions are often reached only after lengthy internal consultation.

What are the prohibited business activities?

  • Gambling
  • Alcoholic drinks manufacturing
  • Narcotics manufacturing
  • Weapons manufacturing
  • Cigarettes manufacturing
  • Import of all types of waste and treatment, storage and dumping of radioactive materials and toxic waste in Bahrain
  • Import, manufacturing and dealing of Asbestos and its by-products (not including Asbestos removal)
  • Import and industrial use of restricted chemicals 
  • Import of automatic cigarette vending machines
  • Letter post (exclusive to Bahrain Post)

What about business activities only allowed for Bahraini citizens and companies?

Some activities such as:

  • Real estate services and rental and management of land and property (not including buying and selling, management of personal property or consultancy services)
  • Press, publication and distribution house (Daily, non-daily, and specialized newspapers and magazines)
  • Printing Press
  • Cinematic filming studio
  • Management and operation of cinema theatres and film distribution
  • Cinema halls
  • Goods land transport
  • Passenger land transport
  • Tourist land transport
  • Domestic Sea Cruises
  • Driving instruction
  • Motorcycle rental
  • Car rental
  • Call taxi
  • Oil products supply (Filling Stations)
  • Gas bottling and distribution
  • Cooker re-filling and repairing
  • Handling and processing formalities with Government Departments and Authorities
  • Hajj and Umra services
  • Foreign manpower supply
  • Commercial agencies
  • Small business activities