Electronics giant Foxconn reversed course and announced Wednesday that the huge Wisconsin plant that was supposed to bring a bounty of blue-collar factory jobs back to the Midwest - and was lured with billions in tax incentives - will instead be primarily a research and development center staffed by scientists and engineers.
Woo told Reuters about three-quarters of Foxconn's eventual Wisconsin jobs would be in research, development and design. Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou, explained that, "In terms of TV, we have no place in the U.S. We can't compete".
Rather than manufacturing 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.
But he added: "Given global economic conditions and the trade tensions between China and the US.it's impossible that we can always stay committed to our original plan without any change".
President Donald Trump, Wisconsin's former Republican Gov. Scott Walker, and former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) spent a lot of time at press events and photo-ops a year ago touting the 13,000 manufacturing jobs Foxconn was supposedly going to create in the USA, but-as with many of his job claims-the president's soaring promises are looking increasingly hollow.
Often described by former Gov. Scott Walker and others who pursued the Foxconn operation as "family-supporting jobs", the large number of manufacturing positions was the linchpin in state support for the project.
Walker lost his reelection bid to Democrat Tony Evers in November amid harsh criticism of the Foxconn deal, which he'd championed since 2013.
"Everybody wanted Foxconn", Trump bragged past year. The state's governor applauded the news, and economists predicted Foxconn would lead a local manufacturing revival. So far it has hired 178 employees.
Hintz says the state was promised manufacturing jobs and a "game changing economic opportunity".
Company representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment. They also said the massive plant that was relying on water from nearby Lake Michigan posed serious environmental risks.
"And now, it appears Foxconn is living up to their failed track record in the US - leaving another state and community high and dry".
Still, the technology council head, said Foxconn can succeed if the plant becomes more research-oriented because their areas of interest match up with Wisconsin's strengths - such as robotics, medical imaging, and industrial imaging.
Foxconn, Apple Inc.'s main manufacturing partner, is also dealing with a slowdown in demand for iPhones.
Wisconsin's Republican legislative leaders are blaming Evers for Foxconn's decision.
Democratic critics said the incentives promised to Foxconn were too rich, and they questioned whether the company would ever fulfill its promises.
But what was left out of the statement was that Walker and others pursued the deal in large part because the massive development is expected to generate other new businesses, new housing and other economic activity that will, in turn, produce even more tax revenue. "Today we're seeing the results of the pro-America agenda".