Foxconn will build Wisconsin factory after talk with Trump

04 February, 2019, 10:27 | Author: Brooke Harris
  • Foxconn site in Mount Pleasant

Gou, whose company is known as Hon Hai in Taiwan, said the call was the latest in a series of discussions he has had with Trump over the past year about the Wisconsin project, which included a meeting between them at the White House last December.

Trump responded to the news on February 1, confirming that he'd spoken with Terry Gou, the company's founder and chairman.

Trump also suggested that Foxconn hire military veterans to meet the demand for tech workers, Gou said, adding that he thinks it is a feasible proposal. However, the Apple supplier announced January 30 it had adjusted its plans and would consider hiring research and development professionals for the facility, which was anticipated to focus on manufacturing.

On Friday, in yet another twist, Foxconn said that, after discussions with the White House and a personal conversation between Mr. Trump and Foxconn chairman Terry Gou, it will proceed with the smaller manufacturing facility.

"We look forward to continuing to expand our investment in American talent in Wisconsin and the US", Foxconn said in its statement.

The Taiwanese company initially said it planned to build a plant to produce flat-screen panels. Robin Vos, Republican speaker of the state Assembly, said on Twitter: "And some wonder why we would doubt the sincerity of @GovEvers when his party celebrates 13k jobs as a 'boondoggle?'"

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Foxconn's shift away from manufacturing LCD panels led Republican legislative leaders to lay blame on Evers, who had been critical of the project and its potential $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies during his campaign with then-Gov. The project, which attracted some $4bn in tax breaks, was to have created 13,000 jobs.

Foxconn Technology Group will proceed with plans to build a government-subsidized plant in Wisconsin to make liquid crystal display screens after its chairman spoke with President Donald Trump. At the time, Foxconn pledged to deliver up to 13,000 blue-collar jobs and a $10 billion display-making plant in the state's southeastern corner - a move Trump has repeatedly touted. Foxconn executive Louis Woo told Reuters earlier this week that about three-quarters of workers in Wisconsin would be in research and development-type jobs, not manufacturing.

Foxconn says it will be an advanced manufacturing facility and the hub of its project in Wisconsin.

But both Foxconn and Mark Hogan, head of the state's economic development agency under Walker and Evers, disputed the GOP claims on Thursday.

Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat now leading Wisconsin, had been critical of the deal but said he is working with the company.

Still, Trump hailed Foxconn's move today in a tweet: "Great news on Foxconn in Wisconsin after my conversation with Terry Gou!" Evers tells reporters that the company needs to improve its messaging and transparency, saying "there's no limit to skepticism if the messaging isn't coherent".

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