The news that Foxconn is backing away from a pledge to manufacture LCD screens at a plant in southeastern Wisconsin came as no surprise to critics of the deal, which was first announced in 2017 with great fanfare at the White House. The Taiwanese electronics manufacturer has made and then walked away from big promises before: In 2013, Foxconn announced a $30 million factory in Pennsylvania that was supposed to create 500 jobs. Neither the plant nor any of the jobs ever materialized. Plans for big investments in Brazil and Vietnam have also fallen short. Foxconn had promised Wisconsin officials that the plant would create 13,000 jobs, most of them low-skilled and on the factory floor. Now, the company’s saying it’s just not profitable to build low-margin, commodity TV screens in the U.S. So it’ll focus instead on building an “advanced manufacturing facility” with far fewer employees. The politics of the deal aside, that’s much more in line with the state of manufacturing in this country.
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