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Foxconn steers clear of Trump’s $30 billion investment claim (UPDATE)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks to the media on Tuesday in Madison. Walker said he does not expect there to be "major changes" to a bill that would extend $3 billion in taxpayer incentives to encourage the electronics manufacturer Foxconn to build a factory in the state. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks to the media on Tuesday in Madison. Walker said he does not expect there to be “major changes” to a bill that would extend $3 billion in taxpayer incentives to encourage the electronics manufacturer Foxconn to build a factory in the state. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)

By SCOTT BAUER
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Foxconn Technology Group is not saying whether it plans to invest $30 billion in the United States, as President Donald Trump claimed he was told by the company leader “off the record.”

Trump announced to a group of small-business officials at the White House on Tuesday that Terry Gou, the CEO of Foxconn CEO, had told him privately that the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer was going to invest $30 billion in the U.S.

The company signed a deal with Wisconsin last week to build a $10 billion display-panel factory. Trump did not specify where the additional spending would be.

Foxconn repeated in a statement Wednesday that the Wisconsin plant “will be the first of a series of facilities we will be building in several states.” It did not discuss Trump’s statement about the total investment amount or Trump’s claims that Gou told it to him in confidence.

“We have not yet announced our investment plans for other sites,” Foxconn said in the statement. “We will provide an update as soon as we have finalized those plans.”

Gou previously said that Foxconn was considering opening plants in seven states before Trump announced last week that a massive factory would be coming to Wisconsin. Other states that Foxconn said it was looking at were Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Foxconn is the world’s largest contract maker of electronics and has factories throughout mainland China. It’s best known for making iPhones and other Apple devices but its long list of customers includes Sony Corp., Dell Inc. and BlackBerry Ltd.

The new plant in Wisconsin, which is scheduled to open in 2020 with 3,000 employees, will make liquid-crystal-display monitors used in televisions and computers. It would bring Foxconn closer to its biggest market and be the first LCD monitor factory located outside of Asia.

The Wisconsin Legislature is considering a $3 billion incentive package that must be passed by the end of September as part of the deal with Foxconn. A public hearing on the proposal was scheduled for Thursday, just six days after a draft of the plan was released and eight days after news of the state’s deal with Foxconn broke.

The Republicans who control the Legislature are split on how quickly to pass the bill. State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says there are too many unanswered questions about the tax breaks that must be dealt with before a vote. Some Democrats and others have questioned whether the incentives are too much, while also raising concerns about the proposed waiving of state environmental permit requirements and other regulations to speed up construction.

Mark Pocan, a Democratic congressman who represents a swath of south-central Wisconsin that includes Madison, questioned during a news conference Wednesday how many jobs will actually be created and how much those workers will really be paid. He added that he’s worried Foxconn might abandon its plans if President Donald Trump failed to follow through on his proposal to raise import tariffs.

“We’ve got to be very real about what this actually means for Wisconsin taxpayers,” Pocan said.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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