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Technology

Foxconn to save $80m in taxes at sharply scaled-back US plant

Taiwan tech giant lowers initial $10bn investment in Wisconsin to $670m

Foxconn's facility in the Racine County town of Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin, in April 2019.   © Reuters

PALO ALTO, U.S. -- Foxconn, the world's biggest contract electronics manufacturer, will receive $80 million in tax incentives if the company hits targets for job creation and capital investment under a massively scaled-back new deal at its plant in the U.S. state of Wisconsin.

The new agreement, announced by Foxconn and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Monday, was approved by the state's top business agency, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., on Tuesday.

Under the revised contract, Foxconn will receive $80 million in performance-based tax incentives from the state. In return, the Taiwanese company promised to hire 1,454 employees with an average annual salary of $53,875 and invest at least $672 million in the new plant by 2026.

Foxconn said the amended terms in the agreement were based on the company's current projections for digital infrastructure hardware products through 2025.

The new agreement marks a drastically reduced investment in the plant, which was initially earmarked at $10 billion. Foxconn released the initial plans for the plant to produce cutting-edge 10.5-generation displays in 2017, responding to then-President Donald Trump's call to bring more manufacturing jobs to the U.S.

Wisconsin is a political battleground state that Trump won in the 2016 election, but lost in November.

"Original projections used during negotiations in 2017 have at this time changed due to unanticipated market fluctuations," Foxconn said in a statement Tuesday.

The company added that it had invested approximately $900 million in Wisconsin and created 3,500 construction jobs in the state since the inception of the project.

The company, which trades as Hon Hai Precision Industry, said in 2017 that the project would create 13,000 local jobs. In exchange, the state and federal governments promised to give Foxconn a $4 billion package of tax breaks and other incentives.

But Foxconn later scaled back the project several times, citing an incomplete supply chain and a glut of displays at the time. The planned manufacturing complex remains largely unbuilt.

The state government has come under fire for providing the tech giant incentives while progress at the plant and job creation remains stalled. Those incentives were offered by the state's previous governor, Scott Walker, and Evers was among those who criticized the original deal.

"Foxconn is happy to have worked with the Evers administration to significantly lower taxpayer liability," the company said in the Tuesday statement.

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