Taiwan’s Foxconn considers abandoning panel production in Wisconsin

Labor costs too high in the U.S.: Foxconn official

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Foxconn chief Terry Gou (right) at last year's groundbreaking ceremony with President Donald Trump (center) and then-Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Foxconn chief Terry Gou (right) at last year's groundbreaking ceremony with President Donald Trump (center) and then-Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - The Foxconn Technology Group was likely to scale down or even abandon its high-profile plans to produce screen panels in the American state of Wisconsin, the Reuters news agency reported Wednesday.

Foxconn chief Terry Gou (郭台銘) and President Donald Trump announced the project at a White House ceremony in 2017, indicating that the factory would result in 13,000 jobs for the region, but only 1,000 might be hired by 2020, later reports said.

While the company is sticking to 13,000 jobs, it seems to be converting its plan to manufacture screens to a project dominated by research, according to a Reuters interview with Gou special assistant Louis Woo (胡國輝).

High labor expenses in the United States were mentioned as the main factor in abandoning screen manufacturing, while research, packaging and assembly were the more likely functions of Foxconn’s Wisconsin project, Woo said.

The plans received backing from the Republican state government, including generous financial conditions, but since then voters in Wisconsin have elected Democrats in office. Gou was likely to meet with the new governor, Tony Evers, later this year to work out adjustments to the deal, Reuters reported.