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Foxconn refutes Asian report claiming Wisconsin Valley construction halt

Posted at 6:53 PM, Jan 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-31 19:53:09-05

Foxconn was quick to debunk a report from Asia suggesting Foxconn would suspend construction for six months on its Mount Pleasant factory.

The Nikkei Asian Review report comes a day after Reuters reported that Foxconn plans to shift its focus in Racine County from manufacturing to research. Both reports have caused widespread uncertainty about the deal that could implicate $4.5 billion taxpayer dollars.

Foxconn immediately hit back at the Nikkei Asian Review story, calling it inaccurate. However, Foxconn executives admit the company's initial plans of building LCD screens may be reconsidered.

Several Wisconsin lawmakers and business leaders have joined Foxconn in refuting the claims that the $10 billion project is now in limbo.

Tim Sheehy with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce played a pivotal role in recruiting Foxconn to Wisconsin with the hopes of adding 13,000 jobs to the state's workforce.

"They aren't concerning, they're understandable given the fact that Foxconn is in a dynamic industry," Sheehy said in response to the reports. "But the communication to us is that they are going to change the kind of manufacturing that they're going to do here, but that they're going to manufacture here."

While Foxconn's goal of 250 jobs in 2018 fell short, Sheehy believes they've still lived up to their end of the bargain.

"They've employed almost 800 people building the facility down there," he said. "They've made a $200 million capital investment, they've bought a big building in downtown Milwaukee, in Green Bay and Eau Claire and a number of other investments."

Milwaukee Business Journal reporter Sean Ryan has been corroborating Foxconn's claims that construction isn't coming to a halt by checking with the boots on the ground.

"We've reached out to the local construction trade unions that would be sending workers out to the site and at least as of this morning, they're saying they haven't heard of anybody being sent back off the site, they haven't heard of any contracts being canceled," he said.

The Nikkei Asian Review report claimed Foxconn's plans to delay construction were a result of "weakening macroeconomic conditions" and flopped negotiations with Governor Tony Evers. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation said Thursday that Evers has made no effort to renegotiate the deal.

Former governor Scott Walker declined to comment Thursday on the reports, however he tweeted Wednesday stating, "Foxconn earns state tax credits based on actual investment and job creation. No jobs/investment? No credits. Period."