14ymedio, Havana, 11 February 2016 – Caterpillar, a United States company that manufactures construction equipment, has appointed the Puerto Rican company Rimco as the distributor of its products in Cuba, looking ahead to the lifting of the trade embargo on the island, according to a statement released by the company on Wednesday.
The relaxations on exports announced in Washington at the end of January do not apply to Caterpillar’s products, which include machines for construction and mining, as well as industrial and marine machines. However, the group believes that Cuba represents a good opportunity for expansion.
“We are pleased to be taking this important step with Rimco, our partner of many years,” said Philip Kelliher, vice president of the company headquartered in Peoria, Illinois. “Cuba needs access to the kinds of products Caterpillar makes and, after the relaxation of the trade restrictions, we expect to be able to bring essential equipment to contribute to the construction of infrastructure in Cuba. This momentous announcement is a part of our preparation for the lifting of the embargo on Cuba after 55 years,” added the person in charge of distribution services for the Americas and Europe.
Richard F. McConnie, president of Rimco, which currently is the distributor for Caterpillar in Puerto Rico and the eastern Caribbean, emphasized the “great affinity” between his country and Havana. McConnie stressed that for his company it would be “an honor” to operate in the Cuban market once trade relations are reestablished with the United States.
“This announcement will let the politicians know that we are ready to act once the embargo is lifted,” Matt Lavoie, head of corporate affairs for the company, told the Miami Herald this Wednesday.
Last June, representatives from Caterpiller, along with employees of other major United States companies such as Cargill and Procter & Gamble, supported lobbying efforts in Congress to lift the restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba undertaken by the organization Engage Cuba, which brings together Democratic and Republican advisers.
Despite the long years since Caterpillar products have been sold on the island, Cubans still associate the brand with powerful and efficient machines. In popular parlance the name of the company is used to classify those tasks that need to eliminate serious obstacles before beginning.