In an increasingly global economy, business travel is on the rise. But investors and entrepreneurs will need to bring more than just capital in order to close deals abroad. In emerging economies such as China, Mexico, and Brazil, observing national business customs can help you build relationships, grow your business, and get a leg up on the competition. Here’s what you need to know when doing business in some of the world’s fastest-growing economies.China China’s very distinct culture can seem intimidating for first-time visitors. One of the most important things to keep in mind when doing business in China is the power of the first impression. It’s customary to be introduced through an intermediary that Chinese counterparts know and trust. A handshake is customary when being introduced, but know that they may last longer than Westerners are accustomed to and are not likely to be as forceful. When exchanging business cards, the act of giving and receiving should be done with both hands, a signal that you value the interaction. Don’t pocket the business card; instead, place it on the table in front of you. In Chinese business culture, tremendous value is placed on the relationships between people—known as guanxi— and meals are often seen as a way to bond with new associates. Unlike American power lunches, business is rarely discussed over meals in China. Instead, meals should be used as an opportunity for the parties to get to know each other. And don’t forget to sample every dish—it’s considered rude not to try everything. Bonus tip: Remember: China is the People’s Republic of China. Taiwan is the Republic of China. Mexico Like China, introductions and first impressions are a critical component of Mexican business culture. The cold-calling culture of the U.S. is noticeably absent in Mexico. Instead, use your network to find an associate who can introduce you to Mexican business partners and vouch for your expertise. Following an introduction, make an effort to be social with your new colleagues. If you’re typically reserved or introverted, be prepared to put in a little extra effort, as socializing is an integral part of business in Mexico. Learning the names of your new contacts’ family members and being able to talk about local sports or cultural interests will help you break the ice. One bit of Mexican business culture may prove irksome to the visitors from the U.S. It is not uncommon for meetings to be canceled or postponed with little warning. When setting up meetings well in advance, make sure you follow up periodically to confirm. It’s perfectly acceptable to send an email saying that you’re looking forward to meeting them. In fact, some in Mexico regard business meetings with Americans as purely tentative until they are assured that the American visitors are actually present and in the country. Be persistent—but polite—in your follow-ups, even calling the night before. Bonus tip: Do not make the okay gesture. It’s considered just as rude as giving the middle finger in the U.S. Brazil Business is done a bit differently in Brazil. Brazilian professionals pride themselves on dressing well, so be prepared to invest in your wardrobe before meeting with Brazilian counterparts. The meetings themselves are likely to be more informal than Americans are accustomed to. Their timing and structure are also much more fluid. While being late and interrupting others are major faux pas in the U.S., these actions aren’t generally considered rude. In fact, they’re seen as a testament to the relationships with business associates. Your associate was late to the meeting because she was making sure a client fully understood a complex proposal. He interrupted not to argue with you, but to supplement your point. In fact, direct criticism during a meeting will often reflect negatively on the critic, rather than the person being criticized. When doing business with Brazilian partners, you are perhaps more important than the company you represent. Take the time to cultivate this relationship, and don’t rush them or appear impatient. Let them bring up business first. Once that happens, they may take their time negotiating and spend a lot of time reviewing details. If you do not speak Portuguese, it’s wise to hire a translator, particularly one native to Brazil. And last but not least, big news is always delivered face-to-face. Bonus tip: If you come bearing gifts, avoid the color purple—even flowers. Purple is the color of mourning. International business etiquette may be tough to master, but a little effort goes a long way. It won’t just save you from embarrassment—it may be the deciding factor on the deal of a lifetime. Daniel Broderick is a freelancer who writes about current events, global markets, art and media. He lives in New York City.