Consumers should not expect to see the launch of an iPhone SE successor next year. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Update: Foxconn has released a statement to IBTimes confirming its exploration of an expansion in the U.S..

Foxconn Statement:

"We can confirm that we are in preliminary discussions regarding a potential investment that would represent an expansion of our current US operations. While the scope of the potential investment has not been determined, we will announce the details of any plans following the completion of direct discussions between our leadership and the relevant US officials. Those plans would be made based on mutually-agreed terms."

Foxconn Technology Group, which manufactures Apple’s iPhones and other devices, is in first-stage discussions about expanding in the U.S., the Taiwan-based company said according to The Wall Street Journal.

“We can confirm that we are in preliminary discussions regarding a potential investment that would represent an expansion of our current U.S. operations,” Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. said in a statement to the Journal .

The company did not immediately respond to the IBTimes for comment.

The statement comes after sharp criticism from president-elect Donald Trump over U.S. companies’ manufacturing of their products overseas. Trump promised to implement a 45 percent tariff on goods made in China (though Trump's businesses have their own problem with Chinese-made products ), where many Apple products and parts are made.

"We're going to get Apple to build their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries," he said in January.

"How does it help us when they make it in China?" Trump said in March.

But Apple CEO Tim Cook previously said in a 60 Minutes interview the U.S. did not have enough skilled workers for the manufacturing of iPhones.

"Even if Trump imposes a 45 percent tariff, it is still possible that manufacturers will decide to continue production overseas as long as the costs together with the tariffs are lower than the amount they need to spend on building and running production lines in the U.S," he said.

Foxconn’s statement confirms previous rumors reported by Nikkei.

"Apple asked both Foxconn and Pegatron, the two iPhone assemblers, in June to look into making iPhones in the U.S.," a source told Nikkei.

Foxconn, which makes more than 200 million iPhones every year overseas, complied with Apple’s instructions, but Pegatron “declined to formulate such a plan due to cost concerns," the source said.

Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou expressed his concern on the increase in production costs. As of now, it costs an estimated $225 for Apple to make its latest 32GB iPhone 7, while the devices are sold for $649.

"Making iPhones in the U.S. means the cost will more than double," the source said.