President Obama to Visit Caterpillar

By February 10, 2009Economy, Trade

From the Peoria Journal-Star:

PEORIA — President Barack Obama is tentatively scheduled to stop in the Peoria area and visit a Caterpillar Inc. facility while in central Illinois on Thursday.

While there’s been no official announcement from the White House about the visit, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told media members aboard Air Force One on Monday that Obama would stop in Peoria and visit a Caterpillar plant.

It would be the third visit in just more than two years by a sitting U.S. president, including the second one to Caterpillar. Former President George W. Bush visited a factory in East Peoria on Jan. 30, 2007, to give a speech about free trade.

Excellent decision, a stop at a manufacturer that has made cutbacks because of the global recession, including major declines in mining and construction around the world. Nevertheless, Caterpillar remains a case study of why exporting is good for the U.S. economy, and the company has been a strong advocate of free-trade agreements with countries like Peru, Colombia and Panama. The company has been a vocal opponent of “Buy Americans” restrictions in the stimulus bill that could — at least in an earlier form — spark a global wave of protectionism.

President Obama’s trip follows last Friday’s announcement that Caterpillar’s chairman and CEO, Jim Owens, will serve on the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

In any case, glad to see that President Obama is making a manufacturer one of his early stops during his Administration. It’s definitely appreciated.

* An op-ed in the Chicago Tribune by Jim Owens, “Protection provisions could kill U.S. jobs

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