Wisconsin Economist Questions Foxconn Deal

Terry Gou Chairman of Taiwan’s Foxconn also known as Hon Hai listens during a press conference in New Taipei City on June 22

Representative Gordon Hintz is optimistic about the Foxconn deal, but hopes the incentive package comes with at least some requirements. The memorandum says Foxconn commits to investing $10 billion in Wisconsin and create 13,000 jobs over six years. "In other words, if I didn't get elected, he definitely wouldn't be spending $10 billion dollars", Trump said. "This is a great day for America".

Governor Scott Walker spoke Thursday about the company moving to Wisconsin and directly addressed people that are skeptical of the the potential $3 billion in tax breaks the move would give the company. About half is for capital costs and almost half for workforce development. Foxconn would also be allowed to skip another $150 million in sales tax on material purchases like building goods.

Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, said in a statement that the investment "signifies the start of a series of investments by Foxconn in American manufacturing in the coming years". "If the administration did decide they wanted to target something, Foxconn could say "Go after someone else's products rather than ours because we're helping you".

In 2013, the company announced plans to build a $30 million plant that would employ 500 workers in central Pennsylvania. It was billed as the first official step toward what would be the largest economic-development project in state history, if completed.

Trump targeted Apple during his election campaign, promising to force the Cupertino, California-based company to bring more factory jobs to the US. "Herzing's Kenosha and online campuses, as well as locations in nearby Brookfield and Madison, are a nimble and employer-responsive, partnering with regional organizations in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois to educate and train a growing workforce".

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"Foxconn is doing its best to try to head off a trade war and they're obviously being quite strategic in terms of making their investment in house speaker Ryan's home district and thereby trying to gain goodwill", said Mark Wu, an assistant professor at Harvard Law School who serves on the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Trade and Foreign Direct Investment. Some of those announcements sought to take credit for previously announced investments.

"It's a degree of corporate welfare I don't think Wisconsin has ever experienced", Larson says. "The bottom line is this company has a concerning track record of big announcements with little follow-through".

Walker said Wednesday that Foxconn workers in Wisconsin will make an average salary of more than $53,000, plus benefits.

Overall only 8 per cent of United States 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.

The agreement signed Thursday, a memorandum of understanding between the state and Foxconn, says public officials in Wisconsin will help the company assemble a construction site of more than 1,000 acres. Apple did not comment.

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