Conn Job: Foxconn Wisconsin Manufacturing Cancellations, US Labor Costs Too High
Reuters reports Foxconn Reconsidering Plans to Make LCD Panels at Wisconsin Plant.
Foxconn Technology Group is reconsidering plans to make advanced liquid crystal display panels at a $10 billion Wisconsin campus, and said it intends to hire mostly engineers and researchers rather than the manufacturing workforce the project originally promised.
Announced at a White House ceremony in 2017, the 20-million square foot campus marked the largest greenfield investment by a foreign-based company in U.S. history and was praised by President Donald Trump as proof of his ability to revive American manufacturing.
Foxconn, which received controversial state and local incentives for the project, initially planned to manufacture advanced large screen displays for TVs and other consumer and professional products at the facility, which is under construction. It later said it would build smaller LCD screens instead.
Now, those plans may be scaled back or even shelved, Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou, told Reuters. He said the company was still evaluating options for Wisconsin, but cited the steep cost of making advanced TV screens in the United States, where labor expenses are comparatively high.
Earlier this month, Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple Inc., 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.
Rather than manufacture LCD panels in the United States, Woo said it would be more profitable to make them in greater China and Japan, ship them to Mexico for final assembly, and import the finished product to the United States.
“In terms of TV, we have no place in the U.S.,” he said in an interview. “We can’t compete.”
This was a "Conn" job from the get go. Foxconn had to know US labor costs would be too high. The company never intended to manufacture here.
The clear intent was to gain access to US engineers and researchers.
Had Foxconn stated that upfront, there would have been no deal. So Foxconn promised 13,000 jobs and got $4 billion in tax breaks.
Foxconn will lose those tax breaks because it will not meet hiring goals, except its own of course. The entire purpose of this con job was to hire the brightest US engineers.
The manufacturing jobs will be in China with assembly in Mexico. Foxconn gets US engineers.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock