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Walker, Foxconn CEO Sign Formal Agreement To Bring Tech Manufacturer To Wisconsin

Rachel Morello
Gov. Scott Walker (far right) and Foxconn CEO Terry Go display a memorandum of understanding they signed Thursday afternoon, during a celebration at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Tech manufacturing giant Foxconn continues to make headlines in Wisconsin this week.

Following months of speculation, President Donald Trump confirmed Wednesdaythat the company will build a plant in Wisconsin over the next few years.  

The manufacturing plant being proposed for Wisconsin, would be Foxconn’s first U.S. facility. The Taiwanese electronics maker plans to invest $10 billion to create a major factory in the southeastern part of the state.

The deal has the potential to create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker appeared at the White House to unveil the details earlier this week, and he returned to Milwaukee Thursday night, to celebrate at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

“They say, ‘why Wisconsin?’ Well, we’re ready!” Walker told the audience. “Over the last few years, we have made a number of substantial changes. We have made it much more attractive for manufacturers because of reducing the tax burden. We have reduced or largely eliminated the regulatory burdens that stood in the way. We pulled back on the frivolous lawsuits. We’ve done more to train our workforce. We’ve made it easier for people to be employed in this state.”

“We’ve done all these things, and that has gotten us to the point – thanks to our partnership with our friends in the legislature – where we’re ready,” he added.

Walker confirmed his promise of $3 billion in incentives to bring a Foxconn facility here. The package would ultimately need approval from state legislators – who are still tied up in budget negotiations. And if they needed any motivation to get a move on, they certainly heard some Thursday night.

A number of folks lobbed praise at state lawmakers for putting in the legwork to bring Foxconn to Wisconsin -- Including Foxconn CEO Terry Gou himself.

Gou said he chose Wisconsin for its people and its “traditional industry foundation” – but most of all, for its leadership, in particular, Gov. Walker.

“I have over 30 to 40 factories in many countries, many cities. I haven’t seen this kind of governor or leader yet…in this world,” Gou gushed.

For his part, Walker clarified that there is still more work to be done. He ended his remarks with a call to leaders in the state senate and assembly, rallying them to work together to help finance the Foxconn project.

He likened it to the deal legislators struck during the last budget cycle, to finance the new Milwaukee Bucks arena downtown.

“When we did the arena, we showed we can set partisanship aside and just get things done, because when it matters, we are doers here in Wisconsin,” Walker explained. “We do the right thing, we get things done.”

In recent years, Foxconn has made similar moves to create facilities in states like Pennsylvania, Colorado and Arizona – all deals that never came to be.

It’s unclear whether formal agreements were ever signed for those plans -- but the governor and Foxconn CEO Gou made sure to sign official papers in front of the crowd at the art museum Thursday, meaning the deal is now in ink, for Foxconn to set up shop in Wisconsin over the next two to three years.

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