Trump to announce Foxconn plant in Wisconsin

Scott Bauer
Associated Press

Madison, Wis. — An invitation to President Donald Trump’s afternoon news conference with Wisconsin officials says electronics giant Foxconn will build a liquid-crystal display panel plant in Wisconsin.

The Associated Press obtained the invitation from a person with knowledge of the Wednesday afternoon event at the White House. The person doesn’t have authorization to publicly release the information.

White House spokesman Josh Raffel confirms the Trump announcement will be on Foxconn, but he wouldn’t release details ahead of the event.

Other states vying for the plant are Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. The Taiwanese company is best known as the assembler of the iPhone.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tweeted earlier Wednesday that there would be a “major jobs announcement for Wisconsin” at the White House with the president.

Walker tweeted the statement shortly after a top Republican in the state, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, said he was in Washington to attend a White House news conference for what he called an expected announcement from Trump about Foxconn. Vos said he had no details about a possible deal.

Wisconsin is among seven mostly Midwestern states that the Taiwan-based company has named as possible locations to build its first liquid-crystal display factory. Vos has said the plant could employ as many as 10,000 people.

Republican leaders in the Wisconsin Senate have said Walker has been negotiating a memorandum of understanding with Foxconn — best known as the assembler of the iPhone — to build such a factory in the southeast corner of the state. Other states vying for the plant are Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Foxconn did not immediately return messages seeking comment Wednesday.

Landing the multi-state competition for the plant has been cast as a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Foxconn is the biggest contract assembler of smartphones and other devices for Apple and other brands. It has been eyeing building the plant in a part of Wisconsin represented by U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who said he has met with company officials at the request of the Republican governor.

Critics have cautioned that Foxconn has made promises before to invest in the U.S. and not followed through. Foxconn promised in 2013, for example, to invest $30 million and hire 500 workers for a new high-tech factory in Pennsylvania, but it was never built.

Still, landing Foxconn would be a victory both for Trump, as he touts his build America agenda, and for Walker, who is up for re-election next year.

If Wisconsin is selected for the plan, the state could be on the hook for billions of dollars in incentives as part of the deal, though no details of the state’s proposal have been released. State Sen. Alberta Darling, co-chair of the Legislature’s budget committee, said any deal would be examined with a “fine-toothed comb” and have to win approval by the Republican-controlled Legislature.