The Latest: Local Wisconsin officials reassured by Foxconn

January 30, 2019 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on Foxconn Technology Group’s change of plans for its Wisconsin plant (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

Local Wisconsin officials working with Foxconn on its investment in the state say the company has reiterated support for the project, including investing up to $10 billion and creating 13,000 jobs.

The local government and economic development leaders issued a statement Wednesday. Their comments come after Foxconn Technology Group said it was looking at moving away from building a manufacturing facility in Wisconsin with blue collar jobs to one focused on research and development.

The local leaders say Foxconn has already invested more than $200 million in the state. They say Foxconn committed to building an advanced manufacturing operation in Wisconsin and is proceeding with construction on related facilities this year.

The officials say they “fully expect” Foxconn to meet its obligations to Wisconsin, Racine County and village of Mount Pleasant.


1 p.m.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ top aide says the administration was surprised by the news that Foxconn Technology Group is changing the focus of its massive project in the state.

Joel Brennan said in a statement Wednesday that the Evers administration is in weekly communication with Foxconn leaders and has been in contact since learning that the company plans to move away from manufacturing liquid crystal display screens at the campus and toward creating a hub for research and development.

Brennan says the “continuing evolution” of the project will require further review and evaluation. He says the Evers administration will ensure that the interests of Wisconsin workers and taxpayers are protected.

Evers was critical of Foxconn during his campaign against then-Gov. Scott Walker who landed the project.


12:30 p.m.

An economics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee says Foxconn Technology Group’s decision to change the focus of its massive project in the state “is one enormous bait and switch.”

Foxconn said Wednesday it is that its massive Wisconsin campus will become more of a research hub than be used for the production of liquid crystal display panels, as originally planned. The Taiwan-based company says it still plans to create 13,000 jobs but hasn’t mentioned its previous goal to invest $10 billion.

UW-M’s Center of Economic Development Director Marc Levine said in an email to The Associated Press that the project sold to the public “had a patina of attractiveness” because it could boost manufacturing jobs. But Levine says it’s “clear that Foxconn will do nothing of the sort” and he called the project “imperiled.”


11:40 a.m.

Wisconsin’s Republican legislative leaders are blaming Democratic Gov. Tony Evers for Foxconn Technology Group’s decision to change the focus of its massive project in the state.

Foxconn said Wednesday it is moving away from producing liquid crystal display panels at the planned Wisconsin campus to instead make it more of a research hub. The Taiwan-based company has reaffirmed its promise to create 13,000 jobs but hasn’t mentioned its previous goal of investing $10 billion.

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a statement that Foxconn is reacting to a “wave of economic uncertainty that the new governor has brought with his administration.”

Evers has been critical of $4 billion in government tax credits for Foxconn, but has not pledged to stop the project.

Evers has yet to comment on the Foxconn development.


11:10 a.m.

The president of Wisconsin’s Technology Council says he’s not worried that Foxconn Technology Group will back away from its massive project in the state.

Tom Still says he’s not surprised that Foxconn is changing the focus of its project in southeast Wisconsin. The company said Wednesday it is shifting from a plan to manufacture liquid crystal display screens more toward research and development.

Still has supported the Foxconn project. He says the company has already invested as much as $200 million in Wisconsin and it’s unlikely to pull out. But he acknowledges it’s unclear whether the company will deliver on its promise of 13,000 jobs and a $10 billion total investment.

Foxconn said Wednesday it still intends to provide the promised jobs.

Still says taxpayers shouldn’t be worried, and that Foxconn won’t get tax credits if they don’t deliver.


9:45 a.m.

A Democratic leader in Wisconsin says news that Foxconn Technology Group is changing the focus of its much-touted project there is “devastating for the taxpayers of Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin agreed to pay Foxconn about $4 billion in state and local incentives if it invests $10 billion and creates 13,000 jobs in the state. Foxconn said Wednesday it remains committed to creating the jobs, but that is shifting from a blue collar manufacturing focus to more research and development.

Assembly Democratic Minority Leader Gordon Hintz says the state was promised manufacturing jobs and a “game changing economic opportunity.” But he says it appears Foxconn may be “leaving another state and community high and dry.”

President Donald Trump helped seal the deal with former Republican Gov. Scott Walker, heralding it as a once-in-a-generation economic development opportunity.


8:35 a.m.

Foxconn Technology Group is changing the focus of its planned $10 billion Wisconsin campus, while insisting it remains committed to creating 13,000 jobs as promised.

The world’s leading electronics manufacturer said in a statement Wednesday that because of a changed global marketplace, all of its projects including the one in Wisconsin are being “adjusted to meet these new realities.”

The statement comes after Foxconn official Louis Woo told Reuters in a story published Wednesday that its plans to build liquid crystal display panel screens are being scaled back and possibly shelved.

Woo says the Taiwanese company wants to create a “technology hub” largely consisting of research facilities along with packaging and assembly operations.

Woo says about three-quarters of the jobs created will be in research and development and design, rather than blue-collar manufacturing jobs.