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'Foxconn Was a Major Con': Backed by Trump Promises and $4 Billion in Subsidies, Company Admits Factory Jobs Not Coming

"Foxconn took Wisconsin for a ride. Other states, beware the allure of the mega deal."

President Donald Trump speaks to guests during a ceremony for the $10 billion Foxconn factory complex on June 28, 2018 in Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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 last year touting the 13,000 manufacturing jobs Foxconn was supposedly going to create in the U.S., but—as with many of his job claims—the president's soaring promises are looking increasingly hollow.

"Trump bragged about his deal with Foxconn to bring jobs to Wisconsin. So far 178 people were hired—but the company is on track to score over $4 billion in incentives.
That's $22M per job. #WhatADeal."
—Swing Left

As Reuters reported on Wednesday, the Taiwanese tech firm—which Walker lured to Wisconsin with over $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies—is now saying "it intends to hire mostly engineers and researchers rather than the manufacturing workforce the project originally promised."

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Louis Woo, a special assistant to Foxconn chairman Terry Gou, said the company is completely walking back its plan to build $10 billion factory in Wisconsin.

"In Wisconsin we're not building a factory. You can't use a factory to view our Wisconsin investment," Woo said.

As Reuters notes, FoxConn "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. It is unclear when the full 13,000 workers will be hired. But Woo, in the interview, said about three-quarters of Foxconn's eventual jobs will be in R&D and design—what he described as 'knowledge' positions—rather than blue-collar manufacturing jobs."

"Foxconn took Wisconsin for a ride. Other states, beware the allure of the mega deal," wrote Reid Wilson, reporter for The Hill.

News that FoxConn is slowly reversing its promises of manufacturing investment and job-creation will come as no surprise to progressive analysts and corporate welfare critics, who have argued all along that the sweetheart deal Walker and Wisconsin Republicans cut with FoxConn in 2017 was an "absolute fraud."

"I remain skeptical that the Foxconn project will ever play out as advertised," Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, told Bloomberg last week.

Following Reuters' report on Foxconn's moves to renege on its previous job pledges, critics pointed to footage of Trump participating in a "groundbreaking" ceremony with Walker, Ryan, and Foxconn's chairman at the site of the company's planned facility last June, where he touted the 13,000 manufacturing positions the tech firm vowed to create.

"I'm thrilled to be here in the Badger State with the hardworking men and women of Foxconn working with you," Trump declared during the event. "Moments ago, we broke ground on a plant that will provide jobs for much more than 13,000 Wisconsin workers. Really something. Really something."

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