President Trump has been critical of Apple’s foreign manufacturing practices in the past and has called on Apple to build its products in the United States. Now, Trump is set to meet with one of Apple’s top manufacturing partners, Foxconn.
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According to a report from Nikkei, Trump is set to meet with Terry Gou, Foxconn’s Chairman at some point on Thursday. While details such as the topic of the meeting remain unclear, it marks the first encounter between the two. Gou was reportedly able to secure the meeting with Trump thanks to SoftBank Group Chairman Masayoshi Son, who met with the president back in New York last December.
Apple and Foxconn have both been heavily involved in talks with Toshiba regarding the company’s NAND storage business and a possible acquisition. Today’s report speculates that the meeting between Trump and Gou may focus on the possible Foxconn acquisition of Toshiba’s NAND business due to national security implications:
Industry sources have said that Washington is involved and being consulted on Toshiba’s plans to sell its semiconductor unit and Westinghouse, its American nuclear unit which owns military grade reactor technology, as the fate of both businesses has implications for U.S. national security.
While it marks the first meeting between Trump and Gou, today’s report claims that Gou met with Jared Kushner in late February. Kushner, of course, is Trump’s son-in-law and a senior advisor. It’s still not clear what Kushner and Gou discussed, though.
President Trump campaigned on the promise of bringing jobs back to America, suggesting multiple times that he might tax company imports. Given its size and influence, Apple has naturally become the top target of pleas for United States manufacturing. Suppliers have expressed skepticism as to the likelihood of Apple bringing production to the United States, though Trump has said that Tim Cook has “eyes open” to domestic manufacturing.
It’s also been reported that Apple asked Foxconn and Pegatron to investigate manufacturing the iPhone in the United States. Either way, it will be interesting to hear more about the meeting between President Trump and Foxconn Chairman Gou.