On Wednesday, top Republican leadership including President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan all appeared at the White House alongside Gov. Scott Walker and Foxconn CEO Terry Gou to announce a new LCD production line in Wisconsin.
The $10 billion plant, which they said would create 3,000 jobs right away and possibly 13,000 more in the long run, could be the first in additional investments, per the Wall Street Journal. Foxconn is the Taiwanese company which forms a part of tech giant Apple’s supply and production chain, and the US expansion is a major gamble for a company in a market which built its products in “China and other lower-cost Asian countries in recent decades.” (The $3 billion in tax cuts over 15 years Walker promised probably helped the decision.)
But so far Foxconn has only announced its intention to build “display panels used in televisions and other products” like “smartphones and car dashboards,” per the WSJ, and Gou mostly was motivated by “reducing the costs of shipping large-screen TVs from Asia.” Trump has been bragging he was promised something much different: three big Apple factories, presumably making Macbooks, iPhones or the company’s other products.
In a recent interview, Trump claimed Apple CEO Tim Cook had called him on the phone and “promised me three big plants—big, big, big,” adding, “I said you know, Tim, unless you start building your plants in this country, I won’t consider my administration an economic success.”
“He called me, and he said they are going forward,” Trump added, which is curious because Apple outsources almost all of its manufacturing and subsequently declined to comment on Trump’s claim.
Huh. It’s almost like what Trump says is happening is not necessarily what will actually be happening.
Foxconn did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Gizmodo.
* Correction: While an earlier version of this post referred to Foxconn as a Chinese manufacturer, it is a Taiwanese company which has placed more of its factories in mainland China than anywhere else.