In late January, we alerted our Supply Chain Matters blog readers of a published report from The Wall Street Journal indicating that global contract manufacturer Foxconn, new parent of Sharp Corp. was evaluating a $7 billion in new LCD manufacturing facility in the United States. Our takeaway from this report was that if this investment did indeed occur, it would represent a significant milestone for the high-tech and consumer electronics supply chains. We believed that the plant investment would further have a linkage to Apple’s production needs.

Today, and this weekend, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump both at the White House and in Florida this weekend.  This week, a subsequent published report by Reuters is citing informed sources as indicating that the proposed LCD manufacturing plant could begin construction as early as the first-half of this year.

According to this report, Prime Minister Abe will unveil this and other potential manufacturing investments during his meeting with Trump.  Further noted is an informed source indicating that the plant investment may include “other manufacturing equipment makers.” The report also indicates: “Abe will unveil investments to create as many as 700,000 U.S. jobs, people familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier.”

Such a jobs figure is rather significant in scope, especially if the announcements come in the context of contract manufacturing for other high tech and consumer electronics providers. To paraphrase Trump language: it would be a very big deal. Foxconn declined to comment to Reuters regarding any investment.

Prior to the planned meeting with President Trump this weekend, Abe also met with the head of Toyota, which has also been a target of prior Trump criticism regarding a decision to build a Corolla manufacturing facility in Mexico for export of vehicles to the United States.

Such an announcement will obviously make significant news in the coming days.

Bob Ferrari

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