FOLLOW THE BOUNCING FOXCONN DEAL
My, how things can change drastically within two months before they snap back to what they were in the first place. Sorta. We think. First, you must travel back in time to Global Trade’s January-February issue, where our Dispatches column noted that Foxconn Technology Group’s $10 billion manufacturing campus project in Wisconsin has been named the 2018 Economic Impact Deal of the Year by the Mid-America Economic Development Council.
But Taiwan-based Foxconn, which is Apple’s largest iPhone assembler, announced within days of publication that it would not build the factory in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, because “the global market environment that existed when the project was first announced has changed.”
This was distressing, because not only had 13,000 jobs been promised at the factory where screens for LCD television displays were to be built, but Foxconn had received $4 billion in tax breaks and incentives.
Then, President Donald Trump intervened, and on Feb. 1 Foxconn distributed another statement, this time indicating its project is back on. Here is the statement:
“After productive discussions between the White House and the company, and after a personal conversation between President Donald J. Trump and Chairman Terry Gou, Foxconn is moving forward with our planned construction of a Gen 6 fab facility, which will be at the heart of the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park. This campus will serve both as an advanced manufacturing facility as well as a hub of high technology innovation for the region.
“Our decision is also based on a recent comprehensive and systematic evaluation to help determine the best fit for our Wisconsin project among TFT technologies. We have undertaken the evaluation while simultaneously seeking to broaden our investment across Wisconsin far beyond our original plans to ensure the company, our workforce, the local community, and the state of Wisconsin will be positioned for long-term success.
“We look forward to continuing to expand our investment in American talent in Wisconsin and the US.”
All is well that ends well, right? Um … actually, some critical eyes are being cast at Foxconn because it remains unclear what level of work will be hosted at the plant. The company says the plant will now create smaller mobile displays as well, such as for tablets and cell phones. And it is unclear whether Trump promised Foxconn further incentives. Which means you have no choice but to pick up our May-July 2019 issue, because who knows what will happen in the next two months.
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