July 25, 2017 / 8:18 PM / in 25 days

Apple CEO promised to build 3 'big' plants in U.S., Trump tells WSJ

FILE PHOTO: Apple CEO Tim Cook attends the China Development Forum in Beijing, China March 18, 2017.Thomas Peter/File Photo

(Reuters) - Apple Inc (AAPL.O) Chief Executive Tim Cook has committed to build three big manufacturing plants in the United States, the Wall Street Journal quoted U.S. President Donald Trump as saying.

"I spoke to (Cook), he's promised me three big plants—big, big, big," Trump told the Journal in an interview on Tuesday. (on.wsj.com/2uWIiop)

Trump didn't elaborate on where those plants would be located or when they would be built, the paper reported.

Cook said in May that Apple planned to create a $1 billion fund to invest in U.S. companies that perform advanced manufacturing. He also said the company intended to fund programs that could include teaching people how to write computer code to create apps.

Apple came under fire from Trump during his campaign because it makes most of its products in China.

"We're gonna get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country, instead of in other countries," Trump had said in a speech in January last year. (reut.rs/2tACzRk)

Apple, on its part, had been making disclosures to highlight how it had been contributing to job creation in the United States.

Cook said in February that Apple spent $50 billion in 2016 with its U.S. suppliers.

The world's largest company by market valuation had also claimed that it created 2 million jobs in the United States, 80,000 of which are directly at Apple and the rest coming from suppliers and developers for the company's app ecosystem.

Trump's comments on Tuesday were some of the first he has made regarding Apple's manufacturing since assuming the presidency.

"I said you know, Tim, unless you start building your plants in this country, I won’t consider my administration an economic success," the Journal quoted Trump as saying.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump also said that Foxconn (2317.TW), a major Apple supplier, plans to build a big plant in the United States and is "strongly considering" putting it in Wisconsin, the Journal reported.

Foxconn said last month it plans to invest more than $10 billion in a display-making factory in the United States.

Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Maju Samuel

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