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FoxConn Says It Won’t Build a Factory in Wisconsin; Falls Short of Jobs Promises

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A FoxConn executive says the LCD screen manufacturer will not build a factory in Wisconsin, despite nearly $4 billion in state incentives to do so, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou, told Reuters the steep cost of making advanced TV screens in the United States could get in the way of building a factory.

“In terms of TV, we have no place in the U.S.,” he told Reuters in an interview. “We can’t compete.”

Rather than an LCD manufacturing facility, Foxconn hopes to create a “technology hub” in Wisconsin that would largely consist of research facilities along with packaging and assembly operations, Woo said. It would also produce specialized tech products for industrial, healthcare, and professional applications, he added.

Earlier this month, Foxconn reiterated its intention to create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin, but said it had slowed its pace of hiring. The company initially said it expected to employ about 5,200 people by the end of 2020; a company source said that figure now looks likely to be closer to 1,000 workers.

The company had promised to create 260 jobs in 2018 but fell well short, creating only 178, making it ineligible for tax credits.

The administration of former Governor Scott Walker gave Foxconn exemptions from environmental regulations and subsidies worth $4.1 billion to create manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin. However, ever since the flurry of publicity with which the deal was announced (including a photo-op with President Trump, Walker, and Gou breaking ground on the new site), the terms of the arrangement have been repeatedly scaled back.

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