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General Motors , SAIC agree to develop electric vehicles in China

General Motors Co and its Chinese partner SAIC Motor Corp signed an agreement on Tuesday to develop and build electric vehicles in the world's largest auto market.

The deal will allow GM and SAIC to eventually offer electric vehicles that qualify for Chinese green subsidies, something GM's Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid electric car doesn't qualify for since it is not built in China, GM spokesman Jay Cooney said.

The Volt will go on sale in China later this year, but without the subsidies that can cut prices by roughly 30 percent.

Industry observers and U.S. lawmakers have said that by limiting the subsidies to locally built models, the Chinese government was pressuring companies like GM to share advanced technology with its Chinese partners. GM officials deny that. 

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