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Hon Hai remains open to consultation on U.S. investment plan

2019/04/19 14:18:01

Taipei, April 19 (CNA) While Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers in the United States reportedly wants to renegotiate a massive investment plan in the state with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the Taiwan-based manufacturing giant said Friday that it remains open to further consultations on the proposal.

"While we continue our weekly engagement with the Evers Administration, especially through the Department of Administration and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), we are open to further consultation, collaboration and new ideas," Hon Hai, known as Foxconn in the global market, said in a statement.

"Foxconn remains committed to our contract with the State of Wisconsin, as well as continuing to work with Governor Evers and his team in a forthcoming and transparent manner," Hon Hai said.

The statement was released Friday Taipei time after a report posted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Wednesday that said Evers wants to renegotiate the contract with Hon Hai, in which the Taiwanese firm will invest US$10 billion to build a sophisticated flat panel plant, which could create 13,000 jobs.

"Clearly the deal that was struck is no longer in play and so we will be working with individuals at Foxconn and of course with (the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.) to figure out how a new set of parameters should be negotiated," Evers said in the report.

Evers said in the report that it is too early to say what specific changes he will be looking for.

According to the report, the state and local governments, under an existing agreement signed in November 2017, are expected to provide Hon Hai up to US$4 billion in tax incentives and subsidies to establish a massive facility in the state's Racine County.

The agreement was inked under the helms of former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who was defeated by Evers in mid-term elections in November 2018.

Hon Hai said the investment in Wisconsin is aimed at helping Wisconsin create a state-of-the-art high-tech ecosystem that is expected to transform Wisconsin into a global technology hub, not only through the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park (WVSTP), but also through the company's extensive investments that go beyond the contract signed with the WEDC.

The investments include Hon Hai's statewide network of Wisconn Valley Innovation Centers, a US$100 million research partnership with UW-Madison for Foxconn Institute for Research in Science and Technology (FIRST), along with partnerships with students, staff and faculty in higher education via the US$1 million Smart Cities Smart Futures competition, and a US$100 million Wisconn Valley Venture Fund.

"Foxconn's commitment to job creation in Wisconsin remains long term and will span the length of the WEDC contract and beyond," Hon Hai said.

"The first phase of construction on the WVSTP campus will begin after the winter break."

Hon Hai said construction on the advanced sixth-generation flat panel manufacturing facility will start this summer, and production is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2020.

In March, Hon Hai said the sixth-generation LCD plant will roll out screens for a wide range of applications such as education, health and medical care, entertainment, sports, security and smart city development.

The massive investment, which echoes U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" policy to bring jobs to the U.S. market, was touted as creating up to 13,000 jobs over six years with estimated average salaries of US$53,875.

In June 2018, Trump attended a groundbreaking ceremony for a factory to be built by Hon Hai in Wisconsin, and described Terry Gou (郭台銘), head of Foxconn, as "one of the most successful" businessmen in the world.

On Wednesday, Gou announced his intention to enter the primary of the opposition Kuomintang for the 2020 presidential election in Taiwan.

(By Chung Jung-feng and Frances Huang)