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One of the most challenging factors in international art trade are differences in culture and work ethics. In some cultures “facilitation fees” or bribes to be blunt are acceptable but in most they are unacceptable. In economics there is a theory called the Efficiency Greasing Hypothesis. This theory questions, offering the pros and cons of whether corruption is good or bad for trade and does not conclude whether its good or bad.

I found myself recently in a very awkward position chatting with one of my good clients and good friend to be of mine. I personally prefer to build a personal relationship based on honesty with all my clients because art I believe is about building relationships and trust more than anything else.

I will not go into details as to our conclusion but I personally feel that the client is king and their needs come first.Without being prejudicial, some nationals are more commercially aggressive than others and some cultures more ethical and trust worthy. Citizens from Developed nations seem to generally be very compliant and conforming to their trade legislations largely due to the control and penalty systems in their countries.

I personally feel that it is very important to be open minded and come to an agreement. You should however be careful not to compromise the client, the artist or the business in whatever direction you decide to take. Always think long term and there is no substitute for experience.

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