Caterpillar is standing by, ready to get started in the Cuban construction market for the first time in 50 years. CEO Doug Oberhelman, along with Caterpillar executives and representatives from RIMCO, the Cat dealer serving Cuba, met with Cuban ministers Wednesday.
Oberhelman’s two-day visit is the latest step in the company’s ongoing efforts to solidify its participation in emerging markets. This visit represents the most recent Caterpillar efforts to engage with Cuba both on business and cultural levels. Earlier this year, RIMCO, the Cat dealer currently serving Puerto Rico, was selected as the Cat dealer for Cuba.
“We believe in the power of engagement, and our goal is to be both a business and cultural partner in Cuba for many years to come,” said Oberhelman. “Our visit this week lays important groundwork for Caterpillar and RIMCO to serve the Cuban market once remaining trade restrictions are lifted. We are grateful for the courteous and warm reception we have received.”
Cat intends to have RIMCO set up a facility in Cuba and most of the products supplied to RIMCO would be from Brazil.
"We are extremely pleased to return to Cuba once again to continue analyzing the market,” said Richard F. McConnie, President of RIMCO. “We look forward to offering the Cat solutions and traditionally outstanding service to help develop Cuba's infrastructure and improve the quality of life of Cuban people."
President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro agreed in December 2014 to end Cold War-era animosity and restore diplomatic relations, but the trade embargo remains in place until the U.S. Congress lifts it.
While steps remain to achieve fully normalized relations, including lifting the existing embargo, RIMCO and Caterpillar will continue preparations to best serve the Cuban marketplace with construction machines, power systems, turbines and engines.