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Caterpillar's Sales Building On Infrastructure Projects: CEO

**FILE** Rows of heavy Caterpillar equipment sits ready for shipment at the Caterpillar plant in Decatur, Ill.,in this April 20, 2007 file photo. For American companies with operations that stretch overseas, the slumping dollar has become a fiscal life preserver amid slower domestic economic growth and waning sales. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, file)
Seth Perlman
**FILE** Rows of heavy Caterpillar equipment sits ready for shipment at the Caterpillar plant in Decatur, Ill.,in this April 20, 2007 file photo. For American companies with operations that stretch overseas, the slumping dollar has become a fiscal life preserver amid slower domestic economic growth and waning sales. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, file)

Global infrastructure projects are up and so are Caterpillar's sales, Chief Executive Doug Oberhelman told CNBC Wednesday.

"The world is open to modern progress. People want things. They want roads, they want bridges, electricity, things we have here in the most developed country in the world," he said. "We’re seeing the recession behind us globally and investments starting to occur in infrastructure worldwide."

Caterpillar's "retail, in the dirt," tractor deliveries have increased in the last few months, Oberhelman said.

But with improving global conditions come a jump in competition from Brazil, India, Japan, Europe, other U.S. companies including Deere, and especially China. Oberhelman said 50 Chinese companies alone were in his face during a recent trade show in Las Vegas.

A big worry closer to home is the high cost of diesel fuel.

"Just as we were all starting to feel good about a little recovery and things were starting to roll we see that $4-plus at the pump and it scares everybody. It worries me, also," Oberhelman said.

Another worry: the U.S. deficit. The country is in a "deep hole" that "impacts our states where we live, impacts our competitiveness in the US," he said. "We have been spending like drunken sailors...and the bill is coming due."

Oberhelman comments on the NLRB action against Boeing for its plan to build a plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state. View video here.