Foxconn to announce new US manufacturing plant: Source

Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn announces plans to build a US$10 billion (S$13.5 billion)LCD display panel screen plant in Wisconsin, a deal US President Donald Trump asserted would not have happened without his efforts.

(REUTERS) - Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn will announce plans to build a multi-billion dollar flat panel screen plant in Wisconsin at a White House event later on Wednesday (July 26), a source briefed on the matter said.

A White House official said President Donald Trump is hosting an event at 5 pm EDT with Foxconn "for a technology manufacturing initiative announcement that will bring jobs and billions of dollars in investments to our country."

Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple Inc for its iPhones, is formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd . It said last month it plans to invest more than US$10 billion (S$13.5 billion) in a display-making factory in the United States. Seven US states have competed for new investments from Foxconn.

The factory is expected initially to create 3,000 jobs and produce computer and TV screens.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told a Wisconsin TV station that Trump was aboard Marine One over Kenosha, Wisconsin, in April and spotted the site of a former Chrysler plant.

When Foxconn executives met with Trump in the Oval Office,"the president said I know a good spot where you should go - that place in Kenosha," Priebus recounted.

Trump has called for companies to build more products in the United States 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 on boosting American jobs. Some of those announcements sought to take credit for previously announced investments.

Not all Foxconn investments announced have resulted in new jobs.

In 2013, Foxconn said it would invest US$30 million and hire 500 workers for a new factory in Pennsylvania. But that facility was never completed, according to local media reports. Foxconn has another small operation in Pennsylvania.

Media reports have said Foxconn could get US$3 billion in government tax incentives for the Wisconsin project. State Senator Jennifer Shilling, a Democrat, questioned whether there is "legislative appetite for a US$1 (billion) to US$3 billion corporate welfare package...

The bottom line is this company has a concerning track record of big announcements with little follow-through." Tai Jeng-wu, CEO of Foxconn's Japanese unit Sharp Corp , said in June that six US states were being evaluated for a possible location for a plant to make displays.

Foxconn's decision to build the plant in Wisconsin was reported earlier by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker touted a "major jobs announcement for Wisconsin" planned later at the White House.

In the 2016 presidential race, Trump narrowly prevailed over Democrat Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin, one of a few states in the Upper Midwest that helped carry him to victory. His message of keeping jobs in the United States resonated strongly with middle-class voters in rust belt states like Wisconsin.

The United States has added 70,000 manufacturing jobs since November, to nearly 12.4 million, but has not added any net factory jobs in the last two months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has committed to build three big manufacturing plants in the United States. Apple did not comment.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Vice President Mike Pence and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou will attend Wednesday's event.