Foxconn Reconsiders Plan for Wisconsin Manufacturing Hub - NBC Southern California
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Foxconn Reconsiders Plan for Wisconsin Manufacturing Hub

The Taiwan-based company initially billed the massive 20 million-square-foot Wisconsin campus as its first North American manufacturing site

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    How a Business Education Can Help You Advance Your Career 
    Evan Vucci/AP (File)
    FILE - In this June 28, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump, center, along with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, left, and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou participate in a groundbreaking event for the new Foxconn facility in Mt. Pleasant, Wis.

    Electronics giant Foxconn reversed course and announced Wednesday that the huge Wisconsin plant that was supposed to bring a bounty of blue-collar factory jobs back to the Midwest — and was lured with billions in tax incentives — will instead be primarily a research and development center staffed by scientists and engineers.

    The move was decried in some quarters as a case of bait-and-switch by the Taiwan-based company, which originally planned to build high-tech liquid crystal display screens in a project President Donald Trump had proudly pointed to as a sign of a resurgence in American manufacturing.

    In a statement, Foxconn said it remains committed to Wisconsin and the creation of 13,000 jobs as promised. But because the global market environment that existed when the $10 billion project was announced in 2017 has shifted, "this has necessitated the adjustment of plans for all projects."

    "This news is devastating for the taxpayers of Wisconsin," said Wisconsin Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, a Democrat. "We were promised manufacturing jobs. We were promised state-of-the-art LCD production. ... And now, it appears Foxconn is living up to their failed track record in the U.S. — leaving another state and community high and dry."

    5 Things to Know About the New Acting Defense Secretary

    [NATL] 5 Things to Know About the New Acting Defense Secretary

    Mark Esper is leaving his role as secretary of the Army to replace Patrick Shanahan as acting secretary of defense after Shanahan withdrew from the position Tuesday. Here are five things to know about Esper.

    (Published 4 hours ago)

    Economic development officials and other supporters of the project urged patience, saying Foxconn still plans to invest what it promised. The White House had no immediate comment.

    Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple, is the world's largest contract maker of electronics.

    Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn's CEO, was quoted as telling Reuters that it is scaling back and possibly shelving plans to build display screens in Wisconsin because "we can't compete."

    Woo said that instead of a factory, Foxconn wants to create a "technology hub," with about three-quarters of the jobs in research and development and design. Those jobs typically go to college graduates. The plant is under construction and scheduled to open in 2020.

    Marc Levine, senior fellow and founding director of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Center of Economic Development, called it "one enormous bait-and-switch." And he scoffed at the idea that Foxconn, known for manufacturing, could transform into a research and development giant.

    "That's simply not what Foxconn is," Levine said in an email. "So the notion that there will be 13,000 research jobs at Foxconn is highly, highly unlikely."

    Trump Walks Back FBI Critique on Foreign Dirt Comments

    [NATL] Trump Walks Back FBI Critique on Foreign Dirt Comments, Says Would Turn Over to Authorities
    President Trump is flipping the script on foreign election interference, after telling ABC News that he’d consider taking foreign dirt on a political opponent. The president clarified his previous statement on Fox News, saying that “there isn’t anything wrong with listening” to such intelligence, and that “of course” he’d contact the authorities if a foreign power offered it to him.”
     
    (Published Friday, June 14, 2019)

    The company initially billed the massive 20 million-square-foot (1.86 million-square-meter) Wisconsin complex as its first North American manufacturing site for the next generation of display panels to be used in a wide variety of products, including large-screen TVs, self-driving cars, notebooks and other monitors.

    Wisconsin state and local governments promised roughly $4 billion to Foxconn, the richest incentive package in state history and the biggest pledged by a state to a foreign corporation in U.S. history. Foxconn was required to invest $10 billion and create 13,000 jobs to get the full incentives.

    It had already fallen short last year, hiring 178 full-time employees rather than the 260 targeted, and failed to earn a state tax credit worth up to $9.5 million.

    Former Gov. Scott Walker, the Republican who brokered the deal, emphasized in a tweet Wednesday that Foxconn earns tax credits only for actual investment and job creation. "No jobs/investment? No credits. Period," Walker tweeted.

    Republican legislative leaders who pushed the project blamed new Democratic Gov. Tony Evers for Foxconn's change in plans. They said he had created an air of economic uncertainty by supporting elimination of a manufacturing tax credit program.

    Evers was critical of Foxconn in the campaign against Walker but did not pledge to undo the deal. His top aide Joel Brennan said that the administration was surprised by the news from Foxconn. He did not address the accusations Evers was to blame.

    Congress Takes on 'Deepfakes' Leading Up to 2020 Election

    [NATL] Congress Takes on 'Deepfake' Videos s Leading Up to 2020 Election

    Deepfakes, doctored videos with one face realistically superimposed on another, gained attention and alarm from lawmakers leading up to the 2020 presidential elections in an era that saw instant fallout from other altered videos of celebrities and politicians. 

    (Published Friday, June 14, 2019)

    Democratic critics said the incentives promised to Foxconn were too rich, and they questioned whether the company would ever fulfill its promises.

    The president of Wisconsin's Technology Council, Tom Still, said he is not surprised Foxconn wants to change course since televisions are becoming less expensive and iPhone sales are declining.

    Still, whose group nurtures technology in Wisconsin, said Foxconn can succeed if the plant becomes more research-oriented because its areas of interest match up with Wisconsin's strengths, such as robotics, medical imaging and industrial imaging.

    Last summer, Trump highlighted his economic policies at a groundbreaking event for the Foxconn complex.

    "Made in the USA: It's all happening and it's happening very, very quickly," the president said in June after visiting the Foxconn site. "Today we're seeing the results of the pro-America agenda."

    Associated Press writers Darlene Superville in Washington and Ivan Moreno in Milwaukee contributed to this report.

    Trump: Sarah Huckabee Sanders Leaving White House

    [NATL] Trump: Sarah Huckabee Sanders Leaving White House

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be leaving her post at the end of June.

    (Published Thursday, June 13, 2019)