Caterpillar names a Cuba distributor for its equipment
The company says it wants to be quick off the blocks when embargo is lifted
Rimco, a Puerto Rican company, chosen as Cuban Cat dealer
Caterpillar has been in forefront of efforts to end embargo
BY MIMI WHITEFIELD
Caterpillar Inc., the heavy equipment manufacturer based in Peoria,
Illinois, said Wednesday that it has named a Puerto Rican company to be
its Cat dealer in Cuba in preparation for the day when the embargo is
“Think of it as a track meet. This puts us in the starting block and
lets policymakers know we’re ready to go as soon as the embargo is
lifted,” said Matt Lavoie, the company’s global government and corporate
Caterpillar named Rimco, a private company that is already the Cat
dealer in Puerto Rico and the Eastern Caribbean, as its Cuba distributor.
The Obama administration eased some restrictions on commerce with Cuba
last month, allowing financing of authorized exports and re-exports to
Cuba, but Lavoie said the new rules don’t really apply to the type of
equipment made by Caterpillar. Its product lines include construction
and mining equipment, power systems, and marine and industrial engines.
But in the future, Caterpillar sees good opportunity in Cuba, which
needs a massive overhaul of its highway system and other aging
“Cuba needs access to the types of products that Caterpillar makes and,
upon easing of trade restrictions, we look forward to providing the
equipment needed to contribute to the building of Cuba’s
infrastructure,” said Philip Kelliher, a Caterpillar vice president who
oversees distribution in the Americas and Europe.
Richard F. McConnie, president of Rimco, said the Puerto Rican company
has a 34-year relationship with Caterpillar and looks forward to serving
the Cuban market. “There is great affinity between Cuba and Puerto Rico
as a result of our shared language, culture and traditions,” he said.
Lavoie said that Caterpillar has been “the absolute leader in the
business community” since 1998 in pushing for lifting the embargo.
Caterpillar lobbyists, talking with legislators on both sides of the
aisle in Congress about legislation to lift the embargo, “have not been
hearing significant opposition to the idea,” he said. “They are hearing
from their constituents, farmers and businesses that they want to go to
The electoral cycle, he said, might present a timing issue in terms of
taking up a bill to lift the embargo, “but there’s certainly hope that
this could happen this year.”
Source: Caterpillar names a Cuba distributor for its equipment | Miami