WASHINGTON, March 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Oberhelman urged Congress to take action immediately to enact pending Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) between the United States and Panama, South Korea and Colombia.
Caterpillar has been a long-time advocate of free trade agreements and was instrumental in supporting the passage of FTAs with Mexico, Chile, Central America, the Dominican Republic and Peru. Since those FTAs went into effect, Caterpillar exports have increased substantially to those regions of the world—up fivefold to Mexico, threefold to Chile and up by more than 60 percent to Peru.
"The message about the success of FTAs is too important to get lost. American manufacturers can compete with anyone—provided they have open markets and a level playing field. Opening foreign markets is a fundamental competitive challenge for the United States to increase exports and generate more U.S. jobs. We need to open those foreign markets with a sense of urgency, before our competitors in Asia, Europe, South America and Canada leapfrog us with their own trade agreements," Oberhelman said.
In addition to helping U.S. manufacturers of industrial goods, the Panama Free Trade Agreement will substantially improve market access for U.S. farm products, consumer goods and services. It will bolster the rule of law, investor protections, internationally recognized workers' rights, transparency and intellectual property protections.
"We are pleased that Congress and many in the Administration now recognize the importance of trade with Latin America and other countries around the world. For Caterpillar, which exported more than $13.4 billion in goods from its U.S. manufacturing facilities last year, there is a tremendous opportunity to sell more mining trucks and scrapers made in Decatur, Illinois, and track-type tractors made in East Peoria, Illinois, to Panama as part of its canal expansion plans," Oberhelman added. "The canal expansion is one of the biggest public works projects since the Three Gorges Dam in China. We are doing our best to earn the business associated with the canal and all the other infrastructure projects in Panama. And, if we can sell all our U.S.-produced products to Panama duty-free, it will help our customers and provide us with a competitive edge over products made in other parts of the world."
If enacted, a trade agreement with Panama would eliminate tariffs ranging from three to 10 percent on Caterpillar products exported from the United States. Additionally, a trade agreement with Colombia would eliminate tariffs ranging from five to 10 percent. These trade agreements would benefit the company, its employees and its customers.
For more than 85 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. With 2010 sales and revenues of $42.588 billion, Caterpillar is the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company also is a leading services provider through Caterpillar Financial Services, Caterpillar Remanufacturing Services, Caterpillar Logistics Services and Progress Rail Services. More information is available at: http://www.caterpillar.com.
Certain statements in this press release relate to future events and expectations and are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are subject to known and unknown factors that may cause Caterpillar's actual results to be different from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Words such as "believe," "estimate," "will be," "will," "would," "expect," "anticipate," "plan," "project," "intend," "could," "should" or other similar words or expressions often identify forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, statements regarding our outlook, projections, forecasts or trend descriptions. These statements do not guarantee future performance, and Caterpillar does not undertake to update its forward-looking statements. It is important to note that Caterpillar's actual results may differ materially from those described or implied in its forward-looking statements based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to: (i) global economic conditions and economic conditions in the industries and markets Caterpillar serves; (ii) government monetary or fiscal policies and government spending on infrastructure; (iii) commodity or component price increases and/or limited availability of raw materials and component products, including steel; (iv) Caterpillar's and its customers', dealers' and suppliers' ability to access and manage liquidity; (v) political and economic risks associated with our global operations, including changes in laws, regulations or government policies, currency restrictions, restrictions on repatriation of earnings, burdensome tariffs or quotas, national and international conflict, including terrorist acts and political and economic instability or civil unrest in the countries in which Caterpillar operates; (vi) Caterpillar's and Cat Financial's ability to maintain their respective credit ratings, material increases in either company's cost of borrowing or an inability of either company to access capital markets; (vii) financial condition and credit worthiness of Cat Financial's customers; (viii) inability to realize expected benefits from acquisitions and divestitures, including the acquisition of Bucyrus International, Inc.; (ix) the possibility that the acquisition by Caterpillar of Bucyrus International, Inc. does not close for any reason, including, but not limited to, a failure to obtain required regulatory approvals; (x) international trade and investment policies, such as import quotas, capital controls or tariffs; (xi) the possibility that Caterpillar's introduction of Tier 4 emissions compliant machines and engines is not successful; (xii) market acceptance of Caterpillar's products and services; (xiii) effects of changes in the competitive environment, which may include decreased market share, lack of acceptance of price increases, and/or negative changes to our geographic and product mix of sales; (xiv) union disputes or other employee relations issues; (xv) Caterpillar's ability to successfully implement the Caterpillar Production System or other productivity initiatives; (xvi) adverse changes in sourcing practices of our dealers or original equipment manufacturers; (xvii) compliance costs associated with environmental laws and regulations; (xviii) alleged or actual violations of trade or anti-corruption laws and regulations; (xix) additional tax expense or exposure; (xx) currency fluctuations, particularly increases and decreases in the U.S. dollar against other currencies; (xxi) failure of Caterpillar or Cat Financial to comply with financial covenants in their respective credit facilities; (xxii) increased funding obligations under our pension plans; (xxiii) significant legal proceedings, claims, lawsuits or investigations; (xxiv) imposition of operational restrictions or compliance requirements if carbon emissions legislation and/or regulations are adopted; (xxv) changes in accounting standards or adoption of new accounting standards; (xxvi) adverse effects of natural disasters; and (xxvii) other factors described in more detail under "Item 1A. Risk Factors" in Part I of our Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 22, 2011 for the year ended December 31, 2010. This filing is available on our website at www.caterpillar.com/secfilings.
SOURCE Caterpillar Inc.