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Spain's PM pledges support for automotive sector after plant closure

FILE PHOTO: Nissan workers wearing face masks protest in front of a Nissan car dealership against the closure of the factory of Zona Franca, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Barcelona, Spain, May 29, 2020. REUTERS/Albert Gea

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez said on Sunday the government will launch an aid programme for the country’s automotive industry following a decision by Japan’s Nissan Motor Co to close its plant in Barcelona.

Last Thursday Nissan announced it would shut the plant employing 3,000 people from December as part of global cost cuts, prompting angry demonstrations by workers.

Sanchez told a press conference that at the next cabinet meeting his government would agree aid to improve competitiveness in the automotive sector, and propose tax and labour benefits as well as ways to improve company liquidity.

Earlier the government said it could seek an alternative partner to keep the plant open.

Reporting by Graham Keeley,; Editing by Alexandra Hudson