April 19, 2019

Foxconn Affirms Wisconsin Factory Plan, Citing Trump Chat

The company did not say Friday whether the expected mix of its work force would change after the conversation with the president.

Taking questions from reporters at the State Capitol on Friday, Gov. Tony Evers said he had spoken with Mr. Woo before Friday’s announcement and said it was a reiteration of previous commitments, not a shift.

“Their message hasn’t changed much recently,” said Mr. Evers, a Democrat who took office last month. “But the fact of the matter is, it is different from what the original plan was.”

Foxconn last year committed to building a Generation 6 facility. That plan was itself a step back from its original promise to build a Generation 10.5 plant, producing larger screens.

Asked if he still thought Foxconn’s investment would produce 13,000 jobs, Mr. Evers said, “It’s likely not going to be tomorrow, I’ll tell you that.” The governor said the state would need to “continually monitor the progress and thinking that goes on” and noted that the state incentives were pegged to specific goals that Foxconn would need to achieve.

Republicans who control Wisconsin’s Legislature welcomed the president’s intervention.

“Our state has an ally in the White House,” said a statement from the Assembly’s speaker, Robin Vos, and the Senate’s majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald. “Southeast Wisconsin and the entire state will see an influx of manufacturing jobs and billions in investments.”

But Mr. Woo’s comments to Reuters about the infeasibility of making liquid-crystal display panels have some lawmakers questioning whether the thousands of promised jobs will ever materialize.

“They’re giving us the prospect of making cash payments to a company for the next 15 years for a factory that the company has admitted can’t be competitive in the marketplace,” Assemblyman Gordon Hintz, the Democratic minority leader, said in an interview. “That doesn’t sound like a good taxpayer investment.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/01/business/economy/foxconn-wisconsin-plant.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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