United States manufacturing has been a hot button issue as it relates to Apple over recent months. President Trump has said that the company has its “eyes open” to the possibility and now, a new report from the Associated Press claims that iPhone manufacturer Foxconn is considering a new plant in Wisconsin…
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The report cites “a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations who was not authorized to speak publicly” and claims that the state of Wisconsin is in talks with Foxconn for a possible manufacturing plant. Michigan is also a state that’s reportedly in the mix.
President Trump alluded to the possibility during a visit to Milwaukee this week, saying that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker might receive a “very happy surprise very soon.”
“We have a lot of companies moving into the United States,” Trump said. “We’re negotiating with a lot of companies. Just backstage we were negotiating with a major, major incredible manufacturer of phones and computers and televisions, and I think they’re going to give the governor a very happy surprise.”
When pressed for comment, Walker’s administration deferred to the state’s Economic Developer Corporation, who likewise said it doesn’t comment on “pending or potential opportunities.
Lending more credibility to the report, however, is the fact that Walker made an unannounced visit to Japan earlier this month “to pursue an undisclosed economic development opportunity.” Michigan governor Rick Snyder did the same the following weekend.
One important thing to note here is that Foxconn building a plant in Wisconsin or Michigan doesn’t mean the iPhone will be manufactured in the United States. Foxconn manufactures for other companies, including Sony and Blackberry.
It has been reported in the past that Foxconn will build a $7 billion “highly automated” display facility in the United States, perhaps with Apple as a backer. It’s unclear at this point if that is the plant being rumored for Wisconsin, though it would make sense. Such a plant would create as many as 50,000 jobs.
Apple is said to have asked iPhone manufacturers Foxconn and Pegatron to investigate manufacturing in the United States. Last month, Apple announced a new $1 billion advanced manufacturing fund to promote United States job creation, with the first investment being Corning.