By Rachel Kraus
Wow, it’s almost like Trump made a promise the real world can’t support.
In 2017, Chinese Apple supplier Foxconn broke ground on a factory in Wisconsin that it said would bring 13,000 manufacturing jobs to the US. President Trump even marked the occasion with a White House ceremony to hail his ability to return blue collar jobs to the midwest.
Now, Reuters reports that Foxconn is reconsidering plans for its Wisconsin plant.
Instead of a manufacturing site for televisions and LCD screens, it will likely be a Research and Development center, potentially with some product packaging. That’s according to Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou.
“In terms of TV, we have no place in the U.S.,” he said in an interview. “We can’t compete.”
Why the change in plans? Surprise surprise, it’s too expensive to manufacture products in the US when labor markets in Asia and other parts of the world are cheaper.
“In Wisconsin we’re not building a factory,” Woo told Reuters. “You can’t use a factory to view our Wisconsin investment.”
Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker secured the factory by offering Foxconn tax incentives. But Foxconn has apparently not met the hiring benchmarks for the 13,000 workers it would need to receive some of the breaks. Now, according to Reuters, it’s unclear whether it will meet the 13,000 employee promise at all. And certainly they will not be the factory worker positions imagined and touted by the Trump administration.
This isn’t the first time Trump’s American manufacturing promises haven’t come to fruition. After an air conditioner plant received praise from the Trump administration for keeping manufacturing in the US, it ended up firing all the employees it sought to save. Trump has also touted what Apple described as a $350 million “contribution” to the US economy, and referred to a new Apple campus in Austin as a manufacturing center. Only 10 percent of that $350 million is actually going to the US economy, according to PolitiFact. And the campus will be just that — another campus, without manufacturing jobs. Those manufacturing jobs, of course, are still in China.