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Wisconsin Lands Huge Foxconn Electronics Plant

(AP/CBS) — The White House announced that the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn will build a plant in Wisconsin.

Foxconn is perhaps best known in the U.S. as the manufacturer of Apple’s iPhone and iPod, and also controversies surrounding its treatment of its workers in mainland China.

The company, which is the largest manufacturer of electronic products in the world, has been faulted for shoddy work conditions, and has made headlines for the numerous suicides that have taken place at its factories. It eventually installed suicide-prevention nets at some of its factories.

The plant to be built in Racine is a “state-of-the-art Gen 10.5 manufacturing facility for the production of LCD panel products.” The project is estimated to create 3,000 jobs, according to Gov. Scott Walker’s office.

President Trump had hinted at a June rally in Wisconsin that a new factory could soon open its doors in the state, saying he was “negotiating with a major, major incredible manufacturer of phones and computers and televisions.” He also said the state’s Republican governor, Scott Walker, might get “a very happy surprise very soon.”

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Trump said that Apple CEO Tim Cook has promised to build several factories in the U.S.

“I spoke to [Mr. Cook], he’s promised me three big plants—big, big, big,” Mr. Trump said as part of a discussion about business-tax reform and business investment. “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.”

Other states vying for the plant were Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Landing the multi-state competition has been cast as a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

Foxconn is the biggest contract assembler of smartphones and other devices for Apple and other brands. It has been eyeing building the plant in a part of Wisconsin represented by House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Critics have cautioned that Foxconn has made promises before to invest in the U.S. and not followed through. Foxconn promised in 2013, for example, to invest $30 million and hire 500 workers for a new high-tech factory in Pennsylvania, but it was never built.

Still, landing Foxconn would be a victory both for Trump, as he touts his build America agenda.

Wisconsin could be on the hook for billions of dollars in incentives as part of the deal, though no details of the state’s proposal have been released.

State Sen. Alberta Darling, co-chair of the Wisconsin Legislature’s budget committee, said any deal would be examined with a “fine-toothed comb” and need to win approval by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

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