Fox­conn quiet on in­vest­ment claim

CEO told of $30B plans ‘off the record,’ Trump said

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM - SCOTT BAUER

MADISON, Wis. — Fox­conn Tech­nol­ogy Group is not say­ing whether it plans to in­vest $30 bil­lion in the United States, as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump claimed the com­pany’s leader told him “off the record.”

Trump an­nounced to a group of small business lead­ers at the White House on Tues­day that Fox­conn Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Terry Gou told him pri­vately that the Tai­wanese elec­tron­ics man­u­fac­turer was go­ing to in­vest $30 bil­lion in the United States. The com­pany signed a deal with Wis­con­sin last week to build a $10 bil­lion dis­play panel man­u­fac­tur­ing plant, and Trump did not spec­ify where the ad­di­tional spend­ing would be.

Fox­conn re­it­er­ated in a state­ment Wed­nes­day that the Wis­con­sin plant “will be the first of a se­ries of fa­cil­i­ties we will be build­ing in sev­eral states.” It did not ad­dress Trump’s state­ment about the to­tal in­vest­ment amount or Trump’s claims that Gou told it to him in con­fi­dence.

“We have not yet an­nounced our in­vest­ment plans for other sites,” Fox­conn said in the state­ment. “We will pro­vide an up­date as soon as we have fi­nal­ized those plans.”

Gou pre­vi­ously said Fox­conn was con­sid­er­ing lo­ca­tions in seven states be­fore Trump an­nounced last week that a liq­uid crys­tal dis­play mon­i­tors plant would be go­ing to Wis­con­sin. Other states that Fox­conn said it was look­ing at were Michi­gan, Illi­nois, In­di­ana, Ohio, Penn­syl­va­nia and Texas.

Fox­conn is the world’s largest con­tract maker of elec­tron­ics, with fac­to­ries across main­land China. It’s best known for mak­ing iPhones and other Ap­ple de­vices, but its long list of cus­tomers in­cludes Sony Corp., Dell Inc. and BlackBerry Ltd.

The new plant in Wis­con­sin,

which is sched­uled to open in 2020 with 3,000 em­ploy­ees, will con­struct liq­uid crys­tal dis­play mon­i­tors used in tele­vi­sions and com­put­ers. It would bring Fox­conn closer to its big­gest mar­ket and be the first liq­uid crys­tal dis­play mon­i­tor fac­tory lo­cated out­side of Asia.

The Wis­con­sin Leg­is­la­ture is con­sid­er­ing a $3 bil­lion in­cen­tive pack­age that must be passed by the end of Septem­ber

as part of the deal with Fox­conn. A pub­lic hearing on the pro­posal was sched­uled for to­day, just six days af­ter a draft of the plan was re­leased and eight days af­ter news of the state’s deal with Fox­conn broke.

Repub­li­cans who con­trol the Leg­is­la­ture are split on how quickly to pass the bill, with state Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Scott Fitzger­ald say­ing there are too many unan­swered ques­tions about the

tax breaks that must be ad­dressed be­fore a vote. Some Democrats and oth­ers have ques­tioned whether the in­cen­tives are too much, while also rais­ing con­cerns about the pro­posed waiv­ing of state en­vi­ron­men­tal per­mit re­quire­ments and other reg­u­la­tions to speed up con­struc­tion.

Mark Po­can, a Demo­cratic con­gress­man who rep­re­sents a swath of south-cen­tral Wis­con­sin that in­cludes Madison,

ques­tioned dur­ing a news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day how many jobs will ac­tu­ally ma­te­ri­al­ize and how much those work­ers will re­ally be paid. He added that he’s wor­ried Fox­conn might aban­don its plans if Trump fails to fol­low through on his pro­posal to raise im­port tar­iffs.

“We’ve got to be very real about what this ac­tu­ally means for Wis­con­sin tax­pay­ers,” Po­can said.

AP

Em­ploy­ees work on the pro­duc­tion line at the Fox­conn Tech­nol­ogy Group com­plex in the south­ern Chi­nese city of Shen­zhen in this file photo. Fox­conn of­fi­cials have not re­sponded to a claim by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump that the com­pany plans to spend $30 bil­lion in the U.S.

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