Trump claims credit for Foxconn's $14b injection

Foxconn chairman Terry Gou shaking hands with President Donald Trump in the White House on Wednesday.
Foxconn chairman Terry Gou shaking hands with President Donald Trump in the White House on Wednesday.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Taiwan electronics maker to build LCD display panel plant in Wisconsin

WASHINGTON • Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn has announced plans to build a US$10 billion (S$13.6 billion) LCD display panel plant in Wisconsin, a deal President Donald Trump asserted would not have happened without his efforts.

The company said it plans to invest the amount over four years to build a 20 million sq ft plant that could eventually employ up to 13,000 staff.

Mr Trump praised Foxconn chairman Terry Gou at a White House event on Wednesday, asserting: "If I didn't get elected, he definitely wouldn't be spending US$10 billion... This is a great day for America."

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said that his state would award US$3 billion in incentives and sign a memorandum of understanding on the investment. The signing was due to take place yesterday and the governor told reporters at the White House the state legislature would need to approve the package.

Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, said in a statement that the investment "signifies the start of a series of investments by Foxconn in American manufacturing in the coming years."

But Foxconn has had a mixed record following up on promises to create jobs in the United States. In 2013, it said it would invest US$30 million and hire 500 workers for a new factory in Pennsylvania, but that facility was never completed. Foxconn has another small operation in Pennsylvania.

Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple Inc for its iPhones, said last month it planned to invest more than US$10 billion in a display-making factory in the US.

Mr Trump has called for companies to build more products in the US and open additional plants. He has made several announcements since his election in November about US investments by both foreign and domestic manufacturers, building on his campaign focus to boost American jobs.

The US has added 70,000 manufacturing jobs since November, bringing the total to nearly 12.4 million, but has not added any net factory jobs in the last two months, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics. Overall only 8 per cent of US workers are employed in manufacturing, down from 22 per cent in 1970 due to the impact of technological change and the growth of global supply chains.

Mr Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that Apple chief executive Tim Cook has committed to build three big manufacturing plants in the US. Apple did not comment.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2017, with the headline 'Trump claims credit for Foxconn's $14b injection'. Print Edition | Subscribe