GM latest company to have assets seized in Venezuela

General Motors became the latest corporation to have a factory or other asset seized by the government of Venezuela, and the Detroit automaker faces an uphill battle to recover any damages.

GM said Thursday that its only factory in Venezuela was confiscated a day earlier, as anti-government protesters clashed with authorities in a country that is roiled by economic troubles. GM said assets such as vehicles were taken from the plant, causing the company irreparable damage.

The seizure is the latest in a long string of government confiscations of factories and other assets that have been a staple of the so-called 21st century socialist revolution in Venezuela started by the late Hugo Chavez two decades ago. Venezuela is currently fighting claims of illegal asset seizures at a World Bank-sponsored arbitration panel from more than 25 companies, making it one of the most-frequently targeted nations in the world.

In March, a World Bank arbitration panel determined that Venezuela did not have to pay $1.4 billion to Exxon Mobil Corp. for confiscating company assets during a wave of nationalizations.

Auto production in Venezuela has nearly ground to a halt amid the country's economic collapse. The cash-strapped government has choked off car companies' access to dollars needed to import parts and repatriate profits. GM's factory in the industrial city of Valencia has not produced a single car since 2015. Nationwide, car makers assembled just 2,849 cars last year, from a peak of 172,218 vehicles in 2007.
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