Letter to the Editor: Intellectual Property End Around

Foxconn may be pulling the bait and switch of all time. They promised some 13,000 high paying jobs, most of which would be factory jobs. They have just announced that the number of jobs will be far fewer, perhaps in the range of 1,000 and almost all research, engineering, scientific and technical jobs.

Still great jobs, even better jobs than initially promised. But keep in mind that Asian companies have been stealing U.S. intellectual property for years. One of the principal tenets of Trump’s trade wars is to eliminate this intellectual property theft.

What if Foxconn’s agenda all along was to build a research facility in the U.S. that would provide them direct access to U.S. intellectual property knowledge (such as through their joint venture with UW-Madison and their research centers in Green Bay and Eau Claire) and completely bypass any restrictions on the theft of our intellectual advances. Use U.S. engineers and scientists and U.S.-based knowledge and advances to design the products that they will then build, and the processes use to build them, in low cost countries such as China. They would no longer have to reverse engineer our best products and processes and be a day late to the market, they could then be market leaders and a real threat to our industrial infrastructure. Their products and their manufacturing technology could then be on the cutting edge, equal to or ahead of our very best.

Trump and Walker both touted the Foxconn facility as a huge advance in U.S. manufacturing. Maybe. But what if this multi-billion dollar gift in our tax dollars is being used to build a Trojan Horse whose sole purposes is to get inside our fortress of knowledge and devour us from the inside?

What if the Trojan Horse of Troy is a metaphor? What if the real Trojan Horse is the gift from Wisconsin and Walker to Foxconn and is located in suburban Racine? What it Trump wins the trade skirmish and loses the war to this Trojan Horse? How many other governors are going to follow Walker’s lead and give America away?

Jim Riead

Egg Harbor, Wis.