- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 28, 2018

President Trump broke ground Thursday on a massive, $10 billion Foxconn electronics plant in Wisconsin as a symbol of his successful economic policies, and chided neighboring Harley-Davidson Inc. not to “get cute” by moving some of its manufacturing operations to Europe.

“This is just the beginning,” Mr. Trump told Foxconn workers in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin. “Today’s groundbreaking is only one part of the exciting story that is playing out all across our nation. We have many more companies coming in. We’re the place they want to be.”

The Taiwan-based Foxconn is building a 20-million-square-foot facility in Wisconsin, expected to create more than 13,000 jobs when it’s completed. The firm has already contracted with 27 local construction companies for the work.

But 30 miles up the road in Milwaukee, Harley-Davidson announced this week that it will move some of its production to Europe to avoid European Union tariffs on motorcycles. The EU is retaliating for Mr. Trump’s tariffs on European steel and aluminum.

The president said Harley-Davidson officials “don’t realize the taxes are coming way down” in the U.S.

“Harley Davidson, please build those beautiful motorcycles in the U. S. A,” Mr. Trump said. “Don’t get cute with us. Build them in the USA. Your customers won’t be happy if you don’t.”

Referring to his tariff feuds with the EU, China and other countries, Mr. Trump said, “We are demanding from foreign countries, friend and foe, fair and reciprocal trade.”

“We’ve lost our companies, we’ve lost our jobs,” he said. “That’s why this [Foxconn project] is so beautiful.”

Foxconn is an electronics manufacturer that builds Apple iPhones and Amazon Kindles at factories in China. The sprawling complex in Wisconsin will make LCD screens for cell phones and other devices, among other products.

Billionaire businessman Masayoshi Son, head of Japan’s SoftBank Group, had pledged a $50 billion investment in the U.S. after Mr. Trump’s election and helped to persuade Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou to build the plant.

“This is a great, historical moment, because I think United States did not have the ecosystem for new technology [in the] last 20 years,” Mr. Son said. “And now, this is a beginning of new ecosystem of high-tech manufacturing back into the United States.”

The president also welcomed Republican Gov. Scott Walker to the stage, calling him “an unbelievably talented guy.” Mr. Walker is running for re-election this year.

Mr. Walker credited the president for encouraging the Foxconn plant, which will benefit from as much as $3.7 billion in state tax incentives.

“You got the ball rolling,” Mr. Walker told the president. “Foxconn would not be in America if not for you.”

The governor is hoping the state’s strong economy, with record-low unemployment, will carry him to reelection. He said the Foxconn plant, the largest economic development project in Wisconsin’s history, is proof that his policies are succeeding.

The president called the project “the eighth wonder of the world.”

“This is one of the great deals ever,” Mr. Trump said. “I don’t even know that anybody’s critical of it. I can’t imagine they could be.

But all eight Democratic candidates running against Mr. Walker oppose the taxpayer subsidies for Foxconn, saying the state can’t afford it.

And the chairman of the liberal group Patriotic Millionaires, Morris Pearl, said that Harley-Davidson jobs nearby are being threatened because of the president’s policies.

“Because of Trump’s reckless and unnecessary trade war with the European Union, thousands of Wisconsinite jobs are forfeit,” he said. “And now they’re supposed to cheer on Foxconn, a foreign corporation with a proven track record of breaking its promises when it comes to job creation that is set to receive $3.7 billion in tax incentives. Wisconsin could have used that money to hire 13,000 teachers and still have a lot left over, but restoring the cuts in the public education system of Wisconsin would only contribute a little to making the very rich even richer.”

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