The Miami Herald reports Caterpillar's Puerto Rico-based dealer, RIMCO Cat, has been give permission to set up a distribution center and warehouse in Cuba's Mariel Special Economic Development Zone.
During a news conference at last week's Havana International Fair, Ana Teresa Igarza, managing director of the Mariel zone, said RIMCO's plans are to have the distribution center operational next year.
RIMCO is a family-owned Caterpillar dealer that does business in Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, and eastern Caribbean islands. Caterpillar announced its plans to support the RIMCO dealership in Cuba shortly after the Obama administration eased trade with Cuba.
Cuba has been courting foreign investors for the 115,00-acre Mariel zone, located about 30 miles west of Havana but U.S. participation was dampened last June when the Trump administration announced a new policy which prohibits direct transactions between companies under U.S. jurisdiction and enterprises related to the Cuban military, intelligence or security services. Because the Mariel zone is under the control of GAESA, a conglomerate owned by Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces, U.S. companies seeking to do business in Cuba are hindered by regulations that are still in the draft stages.
Under the embargo, Caterpillar is not allowed to manufacture in Cuba.