Why We Advocate for Free Trade and Modern Infrastructure

November 21, 2019

As an industry leader, it’s important for Caterpillar to advocate for policies that will help our customers. Phil Kelliher, vice president with responsibility for the Americas Distribution, Service & Marketing, recently shared about what he’s advocating for with policy leaders and why it matters so much for the future.

Here’s what he had to say…

Q: You recently made a quick trip to Washington, D.C. – why did you go?

I had the opportunity to join members of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (or AEM) in Washington, D.C. to advocate for free trade and modern transportation infrastructure – two key areas that highly impact our business and our customers.

Q: How can the passage of trade agreements impact us?

Free trade agreements allow us to compete and win on a level playing field. One such agreement is the U.S.- Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). USMCA includes updates important to Caterpillar, including in the areas of remanufacturing and digital trade. The agreement has been signed by all three countries but must still be approved by each country’s legislature before it can take effect. Mexico ratified the agreement in June.

Q: We’ve heard a lot about transportation infrastructure. What would it mean to Caterpillar and our customers for that to be updated?

Along with our dealers and suppliers, we depend on modern transportation infrastructure to get our products to our customers as quickly and efficiently as possible. Appropriate government and private investments are needed to facilitate commerce, trade, sustainable development and global competitiveness.

Q: Why is it important for Caterpillar to talk about these issues with members of Congress?

Participation in the legislative process by those who know the business best is critically important.  As AEM president Dennis Slater noted, “Our member companies are our best advocates because they know how decisions made in Washington affect what happens on the factory floor.”

Q: What were your objectives for the meetings in Washington, D.C.?

Together with others in the AEM, I had the opportunity to meet with members of the U.S. Congress. It gave us the opportunity to support the passage of USMCA and highlight the need to reauthorize the Federal highway bill. These are important issues that need our voice!



Caterpillar VP Phil Kelliher and AEM member company executives with U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR).

Phil Kelliher with group in DC