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The giant American carmaker General Motors may have seen more glorious times, but it's still a world power. And now it's negotiating to obtain favorable terms from the Israeli government to set up an R&D center in Ra'anana, say sources familiar with the negotiations.

Among its many divisions, GM makes Chevrolet, Isuzu, Saab, Buick, Opel and the Hummer.

The sources close to the talks say that GM is in touch with the chief scientist's unit at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which is the office responsible for allocating Israeli state subsidies for corporate R&D. State support isn't based on whim or whimsy: To be eligible, the company - whether Israeli or foreign - must meet specific criteria, including jobs created and investment. Another criterion is where the R&D center would be based.

GM may have a problem gaining support from the state given its choice of venue - Ra'anana is not a development or peripheral town, nor is it in any immediate danger.

In fact, GM's talks with the Industry Ministry, and with the treasury, started in December. The Israeli officials had hoped to persuade GM, through a tender process, to build its R&D center in northern Israel, but Motorola was first to agree to build an R&D center in Beit She'an.

GM, founded in 1907, was one of the world's first car-makers.

In 2006 it sold 9.1 million cars, but lost its pole position to Toyota. However, it regained its title as the biggest seller in the last month.

GM's profit in the second quarter of this year amounted to $891 million.