Alabama company gets U.S. permission to build tractors in Cuba
HAVANA | BY DANIEL TROTTA
Horace Clemmens, owner of U.S. Cleberllc company, poses on his company’s tractor at the U.S. pavilion during the Havana International Fair (FIHAV) in this November 5, 2015 file photo.
The U.S. government has granted an Alabama company permission to build tractors in Cuba, one of the company’s co-owners said on Monday, making it potentially the first American manufacturer to open shop in Cuba since the 1959 revolution.
Co-owners Horace Clemmons and Cuban-born Saul Berenthal plan to self-finance a $5 million to $10 million factory at the Cuban port of Mariel just west of Havana to build small tractors for sale to private farmers and builders in Cuba.
The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) informed Clemens and Berenthal last week they were cleared to do business under new regulations issued by the administration of President Barack Obama that expand commerce with Cuba.
Clemmons and Berenthal, who call their Paint Rock, Alabama-based company Cleber LLC, are in advanced talks with Cuban authorities and hope to get official permission in March.
The small tractors, which have yet to be mass produced, were designed with the Cuban market in mind, drawing on farm history to suit the needs of small farmers as they began to mechanize, Clemmons said.
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