Promises to Stick by Factory Plans in Wisconsin — Foxconn Damage Control

Irving Hamilton
February 3, 2019

The campus will serve both as an advanced manufacturing facility and a hub for high technology innovation for the region, according to a statement released at 11:50 a.m.

"Governor Evers and his administration have done a very good job of reaching out to company officials and developing a relationship that will protect our taxpayers' interests and at the same time, give Foxconn the ability to be successful in Wisconsin", said Mark Hogan, Secretary and CEO the WEDC.

January 30, 2019: Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn's CEO, sends a shockwave through Wisconsin when he tells Reuters that the company will scale back and possibly shelve plans to build display screens in the state, saying the company can't compete.

As part of the Foxconn legislation passed in 2017, the state agreed to give a $15 million grant to the village of Mount Pleasant, where Foxconn is slated to open its three-phase project.

"Foxconn continues to move forward in Wisconsin!" he said.

"While Foxconn was rolling back their commitment to Wisconsin, Speaker Robin Vos and Republican legislators took control of the agency in charge of the Foxconn deal and slashed accountability after Governor Walker lost his re-election", said Analiese Eicher, Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now.

According to Gou, Trump said in the phone conversation Friday that he hoped Foxconn would continue with the innovation-centered project in Wisconsin so as to cultivate high-tech talent and to reverse the outflow of such workers to the US east and west coasts.

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The decision followed "productive discussions with the White House and the company" and a "personal conversation" between the president and Foxconn chairman Terry Gou, it said.

Heavy machinery is seen before the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump as he participates in the Foxconn Technology Group groundbreaking ceremony for its LCD manufacturing campus, in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, U.S., June 28, 2018.

Last year Foxconn said it would reduce the scale of the factory from what is known as a "Gen 10" factory to "Gen 6".

The news capped a week of reversals about the Taiwanese company's plans in the state.

February 1, 2019: Foxconn changes its plans again after Chairman Terry Gou speaks directly with Trump, announcing the company will make Generation 6 screens at the Mount Pleasant site after all.

He celebrated the statement on Twitter as "great news".

The company previously said the changing global economic climate - roiled by Trump's trade war with China where Foxconn has most of its assembly lines - prompted it to revise its original plans. 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". He criticized the company's communication strategy on Friday, but said he believes it is committed to Wisconsin.

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