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Trump at Foxconn announcement

President Donald Trump, waves as he departs with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Terry Gou, CEO and chairman of Foxconn, after an event in the East Room of the White House, in July 2017. 

WASHINGTON — For some Wisconsin residents, the first time they heard about the Foxconn Technology Group came from a White House ceremony in July 2017.

At that ceremony, President Donald Trump was joined on stage in the East Room of the White House by then-House Speaker Paul Ryan, Vice President Mike Pence, then-Gov. Scott Walker and Foxconn CEO and Chairman Terry Gou to make the historic announcement that Foxconn would be making at least $10 billion in capital investment in the state and as many as 13,000 jobs would be created here.

“This is a great day for American workers and for manufacturing, and for everyone who believes in the concept and the label of ‘Made in in the U.S.A,’” Trump said at the 2017 press event. “Today I’m pleased to announce that Foxconn, a world leader in manufacturing for computers, communications and consumer electronics, one of the truly great companies of the world will build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for the production of LCD panel products in Wisconsin.”

However, since that White House announcement just over 18 months ago, the plan for Foxconn in Wisconsin has taken a turn.

Foxconn announced this week that it plans to make adjustments regarding its development in Wisconsin, shifting more toward research and development but the company maintains that it is committed to long-term investment in Wisconsin.

Foxconn has cited global market conditions as a significant reason for this change and it’s possible the market will continue to change.

In its announcement, the company stated that the “global market environment has necessitated a reconsideration of which technology will best suit the needs of its customers, its commitment to the construction of the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park campus (in southwest Mount Pleasant) and the creation of 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin remain unchanged.”

Because of the recent developments with Foxconn, some throughout the area and throughout the state are concerned as to whether the project can live up to its hype.

A White House official, speaking on background to The Journal Times on Thursday, said “while it’s encouraging Foxconn would bring 13,000 new jobs and billions of dollars to Wisconsin, we would be disappointed by any reductions to the initial investment.”

Trade with China

Meanwhile, officials from the Trump administration are meeting with officials from China on trade policy.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted he plans to meet with China’s President Xi Jinping “to discuss and agree on some of the long standing more difficult points.”

Trump also said if a deal is not reached by March 1, tariffs on China plan to increase by 25 percent.

The Journal Times asked the White House official if the administration believes that trade negotiations with China will impact Foxconn’s investment in Wisconsin. Foxconn is based in Taiwan, a country that China considers a renegade province.

The official declined to comment.

“While it’s encouraging Foxconn would bring 13,000 new jobs and billions of dollars to Wisconsin, we would be disappointed by any reductions to the initial investment.” White House official, speaking on background

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Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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