Trump signs bill that could kick Chinese firms off US stock exchanges

Politics

A screen shows the graph of the Dow industrial average after closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 18, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City. – Wall Street stocks plunged again March 18, 2020 as the economic toll from the coronavirus mounts and economists warn of a deep recession.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 6.3 percent, or more than 1,300 points, to close the day at 19,903.50. The index sank by as much as 10 percent earlier in the session, which saw trading halted yet again. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — President Donald Trump on Friday signed legislation that would kick Chinese companies off U.S. stock exchanges unless they adhere to American auditing standards, the White House said, giving the Republican one more tool to threaten Beijing with before leaving office next month.

“The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act” bars securities of foreign companies from being listed on any U.S. exchange if they have failed to comply with the U.S. Public Accounting Oversight Board’s audits for three years in a row.

While it applies to companies from any country, the legislation’s sponsors intended it to target Chinese companies listed in the United States, such as Alibaba, tech firm Pinduoduo Inc and oil giant PetroChina Co Ltd.

The legislation, like many others taking a harder line on Chinese businesses, had passed Congress by large margins earlier this year. Lawmakers – both Democrats and Trump’s fellow Republicans – echo the president’s hard line against Beijing, which became fiercer this year as Trump blamed China for the coronavirus ravaging the United States.

The act would also require public companies to disclose whether they are owned or controlled by a foreign government.

Chinese officials have dismissed the measure as a discriminatory policy that politically oppresses Chinese firms.

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