Spain should establish a consulate general in Atlanta to participate in the growth of the Spanish-speaking communities here, Ignacio Taboada, the honorary consul of Spain, told GlobalFax in an interview.

Mr. Taboada said that he had participated in informal discussions about the possibility of Spain moving its consulate general from New Orleans to Atlanta.

“Atlanta has surpassed New Orleans as a business center in the southeast, and more Spanish companies would come here if we had a consulate general,” Mr. Taboada said.

He also predicted that a consulate general here would draw some Spanish companies that are currently going to Miami or New York.

As Spain’s honorary consul in Atlanta since 1994, Mr. Taboada’s main role is to be an “information source to help people” get information on Spain or to refer them to the Spanish trade department or chamber of commerce in Miami.

He said that most Spanish companies in Atlanta are small, family-owned businesses and noted that Spanish investors in the U.S., not wishing to be publicized, tend to keep their national identity “low-key.” For instance, Investronica Inc., a sewing machinery and computer software provider for the apparel industry, is an Atlanta subsidiary of El Corte Inglés, one of the largest retail stores in Spain. Chupa Chups USA, a local subsidiary of the Barcelona-based, global lollipop manufacturer Chupa Chups S.A., has been here for 20 years.

Mr. Taboada is director of United Americas Bank, the first Hispanic bank in Atlanta, president of Phoenix Global Mortgage Corp. that lends primarily to Hispanic customers and vice-chairman of the Fulton County Housing Authority, representing the Hispanic community.

      Mr. Taboada may be reached at (770) 518-2440.