Published: Sun, February 03, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Foxconn again shifts Wisconsin plans after Trump intervenes

Foxconn again shifts Wisconsin plans after Trump intervenes

The company's statement on Friday reiterated that the "campus will serve both as an advanced manufacturing facility as well as a hub of high technology innovation for the region".

Congressman Bryan Steil held a listening session in Mount Pleasant just hours after Foxconn's announcement went public.

Hintz said the state hasn't paid out the incentives that are associated with employment and with capital investment, which could total to $4 billion of taxpayer money. Residents' opposition, labor shortage, and technology transfer difficulties are the three main reasons why manufacturing companies like Foxconn could not move back to the United States easily, industry insiders and analysts have said.

Trump tweeted Friday: "Great news on Foxconn in Wisconsin after my conversation with Terry Gou!".

Wisconsin promised almost $4 billion in state and local tax incentives to Foxconn if it invested $10 billion and created 13,000 jobs for the project, which Trump heralded past year as the "eighth wonder of the world".

Wisconsin's economic development agency, largely controlled by Republicans, is protecting the Foxconn project from the newly-elected Democratic governor's intervention, according to Hintz.

On Wednesday, Foxconn said that it was refocusing on research and development rather than manufacturing, which means it will employ scientists and developers, rather than blue collar workers as originally promised.

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Wisconsin's new Democratic governor criticized the company Friday for its flip-flopping. That same day Foxconn announces it now plans to build much smaller Generation 6 screens and phase in production of Generation 10.5 screens later.

The latest Foxconn statement did not say whether the commitment to this size factory would affect the type of workers who would be employed in Wisconsin. 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.

The company today said it is planning to construct what's called a Generation 6 facility following "productive conversations" between Foxconn and the Trump administration.

But Foxconn's repeated changes to its plans led critics of the project this week to accuse Foxconn of a "bait and switch".

Trump had unveiled the deal in the East Room of the White House with former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in 2017 and attended a groundbreaking ceremony last summer in Racine County. 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".

Earlier this week, electronics giant Foxconn pulled a major bait-and-switch in Wisconsin.

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