Foxconn, Assembler of iPhones, Eyes Wisconsin for Plant

A Taiwanese company that assembles Apple's iPhones and other electronics is considering building a plant in Wisconsin that could employ thousands of people and give Gov. Scott Walker a huge political boost as he prepares to run for re-election.

A person with direct knowledge of the negotiations who was not authorized to speak publicly confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the state is in talks with Foxconn. At least one other upper Midwest state, Michigan, is also pursuing the plant.

President Donald Trump alluded to negotiations with an unspecified company during a visit to Milwaukee on Tuesday, saying Walker might get "a very happy surprise very soon." Trump said "we were negotiating with a major, major incredible manufacturer of phones and computers and televisions."

Foxconn assembles smartphones and other devices for Apple, Sony, Blackberry and other brands -- mostly in China, where its plants employ about 1 million people. It has been the subject of complaints for years about its labor practices and worker suicides at plants in China that manufacture Apple products.

Walker's administration deferred comment to the state's chief economic development agency. Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation spokesman Mark Maley said the agency doesn't comment on pending or potential opportunities.

"It would be great for Wisconsin for a lot of reasons," said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, who noted that Wisconsin is already home to similar electronic manufacturers.

"I am assuming Foxconn was attracted by the fact there's already a skilled workforce here and there's a foundation to produce more such workers through the tech colleges and the other parts of the education system," Still said.

Foxconn, founded in 1974, announced in January that it was considering investing $7 billion in a U.S. factory to produce display panels that would create as many as 50,000 jobs. The company was purchased last...

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