Trump hints Fox­conn deal could hit $30 bil­lion

Pres­i­dent: Firm’s CEO told him of in­vest­ment’s po­ten­tial in con­fi­dence.

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - By Scott Bauer Fox­conn

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ca­su­ally men­tioned Tues­day that Fox­conn’s chair­man told him in con­fi­dence the elec­tron­ics gi­ant’s in­vest­ment could reach $30 bil­lion, triple the size of last week’s deal with Wis­con­sin that some al­ready viewed as op­ti­misti­cally in­flated.

Trump made the com­ments while ad­dress­ing small-busi­ness lead­ers at the White House. He didn’t elab­o­rate on how the fig­ure could grow so high or even clar­ify whether he was re­fer­ring to just Wis­con­sin or na­tion­wide — in­clud­ing in­vest­ments in other plants not yet an­nounced.

“They’re go­ing to spend $10 bil­lion, but he is one of the great busi­ness­men of our time,” Trump said in ref­er­ence to Fox­conn CEO Terry Gou. “And I think the num­ber is go­ing to be $30 bil­lion. He told me off the record he thinks he may go $30 bil­lion, $30 bil­lion. Think of this. He may go 30 bil­lion dol­lar in­vest­ment, but he told me that off the record so I promised I wouldn’t tell any­one.”

Fox­conn of­fi­cials didn’t im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment from The As­so­ci­ated Press.

This is the sec­ond time in a week that Trump has made pub­lic con­ver­sa­tions he says he had in pri­vate with busi­ness lead­ers. Last week Trump told the Wall Street Jour­nal that Ap­ple CEO Tim Cook told him he was com­mit­ted to build­ing three big man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties in the U.S., plans Ap­ple has not con­firmed.

The deal Gov. Scott Walker and Fox­conn signed on Thurs­day called for the Tai­wanese com­pany to in­vest $10 bil­lion in Wis­con­sin and ini­tially em­ploy 3,000 peo­ple by 2020, with up to 13,000 within six years. Even at a third of the size Trump said could be spent, the en­vi­sioned plant project would be the largest in state history and re­sult in a 20 mil­lion­square-foot cam­pus.

Crit­ics of the deal have ques­tioned whether Fox­conn would come close to even those lofty in­vest­ment and em­ploy­ment tar-

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