Feb 17 Caterpillar Inc has picked
a site near Athens, Georgia, for a plant that will build small
tractors and excavators, investing $200 million to shift some
production from Japan, the machinery maker said on Friday.
The facility will employ 1,400 people once it is fully
operational in about five years. Construction will begin in the
next 45 days.
Another 2,800 jobs will be created among suppliers and other
employers, according to the company and Georgia state officials.
Caterpillar will export small track-type tractors from the
facility. The company moved production from Japan to be closer
to customers in North America and Europe, and Athens was picked
because of its proximity to the ports in Savannah, Georgia, and
Charleston, South Carolina.
The move by Caterpillar comes as President Barack Obama has
increasingly positioned so-called insourcing as a key theme
heading into the upcoming presidential election. Obama has
proposed closing tax breaks for companies that move U.S. jobs
overseas, while providing incentives to firms that bring work
home, particularly in high-tech manufacturing.
The insourcing sentiment was echoed this week by top
executives who gathered at an event organized by General
Electric Co. Some said that U.S. manufacturers moved
their production out of the country too quickly over the past
decades and now see a competitive advantage in building up their
footprints back home.
Caterpillar's decision, however, did not come without
The Peoria, Illinois, company indicated in recent weeks that
higher state income tax rates were a factor in its decision to
locate this plant outside of its home state. Illinois Governor
Pat Quinn shot back, saying he believed the decision was based
solely on Caterpillar's logistics requirements.
Caterpillar first signalled its desire to move work from
Japan in November, and at the time said it would also consider
sites in Canada and Mexico with good access to ports. It said it
did not expect job cuts at its plant in Sagami, Japan.
A month later, the company said it had decided to locate the
new facility on U.S. soil.
Caterpillar shares were little changed in Friday trading.