Atlanta businessman Ralph Guzman has been appointed as official representative in the Southeast of the Dominican Republic’s centrist political party and expects to promote trade and investment between Atlanta and his native country.

Mr. Guzman, whose cousin was a former president of the Dominican Republic, was named in July as an official representative of the Dominican Revolutionary Party, one of the country’s three main political parties. He will be able to handle inquiries about the party, as well as the country’s political system and economic opportunities.

“I will be much more active in trade from now on,” Mr. Guzman told GlobalAtlanta in an interview, adding that the party, known as the PRD, is very pro-trade and was a strong promoter of the Dominican Republic being included in the Central American Free Trade Agreement with the United States.

He said the PRD, which currently controls the congress, is focused on making sure small businesses benefit from Cafta, as well as promoting the development of the country’s textile industry and free trade zones.

Mr. Guzman also said his background in importing and exporting may prove useful for Georgians interested in learning more about trading with the Dominican Republic. He created the Dominican Republic Good Will and Trade Council a few years ago to aid business relations between Georgia and the country, primarily sending computers and related products to Dominican communities. He currently is a regional manager in Atlanta for Orlando-based Cash Back America Inc.

Mr. Guzman added that Dominicans living in the U.S. can, since last August, vote in their country’s presidential elections, which take place every four years. He added that he will be leading efforts to invite the secretary general of the PRD to visit Atlanta in February.

The PRD was the majority party from 1978 until last August 16 when its candidate lost the presidency to the Dominican Liberation Party. The third main party, the Social Christian Reformist Party, also supported a candidate in last year’s election.

Georgia’s Dominican population of some 5,000 are scattered throughout the state and are not necessarily unified on political or social issues, Mr. Guzman said.

Victor Ramirez, another Dominican native in Atlanta, heads up the Dominican International Association Inc. that promotes tourism and business ties between the Dominican Republic and Georgia.

Mr. Guzman said that the Dominican used to have an honorary consul, retired Atlanta attorney Horace Sibley, but that office is no longer active, and as far as he knows, no plans are being made to open another consular office here. Most Dominicans in the U.S. live in New York, Miami or Boston, he noted.

Contact Mr. Guzman at (770) 255-8968 or or more information.