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Promising thousands of US jobs, Foxconn offshored 155 to Mexico

Reuters logo Reuters 6/4/2019 By Andy Sullivan
a group of people standing in front of a store: FILE PHOTO: Visitors are seen at a Foxconn booth at the World Intelligence Congress in Tianjin © Reuters/China Stringer Network FILE PHOTO: Visitors are seen at a Foxconn booth at the World Intelligence Congress in Tianjin

Foxconn has offshored more than 150 U.S. jobs to Mexico, according to the Labor Department, even as it struggles to meet job-creation targets promised as part of a massive new factory championed by President Donald Trump.

The Taiwan-based electronics maker said in a filing in Indiana in November 2018 that it would lay off 155 workers at a computer factory outside Indianapolis, citing "changes in our business and production objectives."

The Labor Department in February determined that the jobs were eliminated because the company had shifted some production to Mexico, records obtained by Reuters through a Freedom of Information Act request show.

Foxconn officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company told the Indianapolis Business Journal in November that the plant in Plainfield, Indiana, was operated by a subsidiary firm and added that the layoffs would not affect other Foxconn-related companies.

The 155 jobs amount to a small fraction of Foxconn's global workforce, which stood at 988,000 at the end of 2017, according to its corporate responsibility report.

But the company is under the spotlight for having so far failed to meet job-creation targets at another facility in Wisconsin unveiled at a White House ceremony in 2017 and cited by Trump as proof that he was reviving American manufacturing.

Trump has threatened to punish companies that ship U.S. jobs to other countries and is currently pushing to impose tariffs on Mexican products due to an immigration dispute.

If completed, the 20-million-sq-foot research facility and liquid crystal display plant in Wisconsin would be the largest greenfield investment by a foreign-based company in U.S. history, employing 13,000 people.

But Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd., has said that it has been reconsidering its plans.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said in April that he wants to renegotiate the deal, secured with $4 billion in tax breaks, because Foxconn is not expected to reach its job creation goals for the state. Evers, a Democrat, inherited the project from his predecessor, Republican Scott Walker.

Foxconn has said it remains committed to its agreement, and company chairman Terry Gou met with Trump at the White House last month to discuss the project.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Related video: The fallout in Wisconsin from Foxconn (provided by CNBC)

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(Additional reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Sanders and Sonya Hepinstall)

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