General Motors ceases Venezuelan operations after asset seizure

General Motors ceases Venezuelan operations after asset seizure

General Motors ceases Venezuelan operations after asset seizure

State Department Mark Toner says USA officials are reviewing the details of an nearly 20-year-old lawsuit that led the Venezuelan government to seize a General Motors factory in the South American country.

GM announced the plant confiscation Thursday, saying its plant in Valencia "was unexpectedly taken by the public authorities, preventing normal operations".

If the government permits it, GM workers at the Valencia plant will get separation benefits "arising from the termination of employment relationships due to causes beyond the parties' control", the GM statement said.

General Motors Venezolana, GM's local subsidiary, said it "strongly rejects the arbitrary measures taken by the authorities and will vigorously take all legal actions, within and outside of Venezuela, to defend its rights".

The company said the "illegal judicial seizure" would cause "irreparable damage" to GM, its suppliers, its 79 dealers and almost 2,700 employees of the plant.

El Universal reported the seizure is likely related to a lawsuit against the company filed by a former landowner in Maracaibo.

Venezuela remains in a deep state of economic crisis marked by protests as currency controls take effect and its raw material resources continue to dwindle. The seizure comes amid a deepening economic crisis in leftist-led Venezuela that has already roiled many US companies.

Venezuela is in the midst of deep economic turmoil and political division.

GM is the market leader in Venezuela.

General Motors has stopped operations in Venezuela after its only plant there was illegally seized by authorities, the automaker says in a statement.

The seizure happened Wednesday, as the "mother of all protests" brought hundreds of thousands of people into the streets to demonstrate against socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

GM said the government removed assets from the plant, including cars. Nationwide, auto makers assembled just 2,849 cars previous year, from a peak of 172,218 vehicles in 2007. Clorox Co. said in September 2014 that it was shutting down all operations in Venezuela, citing restrictions by the government, supply disruptions and economic uncertainty.

Ramirez was killed over the past day in the restive western border city of San Cristobal amid protests that also left two others dead - a teenage boy reportedly on his way to a soccer match with friends, and a National Guard officer whose unit was attacked. Exxon Mobil sought arbitration after the government of President Hugo Chavez nationalized the company's oil project in the South American nation's oil-rich Orinoco region in 2007.

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