April 17, 2019 / 8:43 PM / 6 months ago

Wisconsin governor says wants to renegotiate Foxconn contract

April 17 (Reuters) - Wisconsin’s governor said on Wednesday he wants to renegotiate the state’s contract with Foxconn Technology Group Ltd because the Taiwanese company is not expected to reach its job creation goals for the state.

Democratic Governor Tony Evers, who took office in January, inherited a deal to give Foxconn around $4 billion in tax breaks and other incentives that was championed by Scott Walker, the state’s former Republican governor.

Announced at a White House ceremony in 2017, Foxconn’s 20-million square foot campus marked the largest greenfield investment by a foreign-based company in U.S. history and was praised by President Donald Trump as proof of his ability to revive American manufacturing.

Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple Inc., has pledged to eventually create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin, but said earlier this year it had slowed its pace of hiring.

“The present contract deals with a situation that no longer exists so it’s our goal to make sure that the taxpayers are protected and environmental standards are protected and we believe that we need to take a look at that contract,” Evers told reporters.

Foxconn representatives did not immediately comment.

The company has wavered on its goals for the $10 billion project this year. Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Chief Executive Terry Gou, told Reuters in January Foxconn was reconsidering plans to make advanced liquid crystal display panels. He said Foxconn would hire mostly engineers and researchers rather than the manufacturing workforce originally promised in Wisconsin.

Days later, the company said it would build the factory after Gou spoke to Trump.

Gou earlier on Wednesday announced he was running for president of Taiwan. He had told Reuters on Monday he planned to step down from Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer, to pave the way for younger talent to move up the company’s ranks.

Evers said the original footprint of the project is going to be much smaller but the scaled-back project is expected to advance “whether Mr. Gou is part of that enterprise or not.” (Writing by Caroline Stauffer Editing by Susan Thomas)

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