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Rubio Applauds Senate Passage of Legislation to Ban Chinese & Foreign Firms That Flout U.S. Laws From U.S. Exchanges

May 20, 2020 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) applauded the Senate passage of an amended version of Senator John Kennedy’s (R-LA) Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act (S.945), which would increase oversight of Chinese and other foreign companies listed on American exchanges and delist and ban over-the-counter trading for firms that are out of compliance with U.S. regulators for a period of three years. Last year, Rubio introduced the Ensuring Quality Information and Transparency for Abroad-Based Listings on our Exchanges (EQUITABLE) Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation to ban Chinese and foreign firms that flaunt U.S. laws from U.S. exchanges. Key Rubio provisions were included in the Senate passed S. 945. Rubio previewed the legislation in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. A one-pager of the legislation is available here.
 
“Today, the Senate took decisive action to prevent Chinese companies from exploiting U.S. capital markets and running afoul of our laws and regulations,” Rubio said. “I was proud to work with Senator Kennedy on this important legislation that would protect American retail investors and pensioners from risky investments in fraudulent, opaque Chinese companies that are listed on U.S. exchanges and trade on over-the-counter markets. If Chinese companies want access to the U.S. capital markets, they must comply with American laws and regulations for financial transparency and accountability. The recent Luckin Coffee scandal — just one of many examples of Chinese fraud — makes clear that it is long overdue for Congress to take action, and the House should take up this legislation without delay.”
 
Background:

  • In February 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a statement regarding the difficulties U.S. regulators face when auditing U.S.-listed companies based in China, and how over the past decade, U.S. investors, and the U.S. capital markets more generally, have become more exposed to companies with significant operations in emerging markets, including China, the largest emerging market economy.
  • In December 2018, the SEC and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) issued a joint warning to investors about the challenges American regulators face when attempting to conduct oversight of U.S.-listed companies whose operations are based in China and Hong Kong.
  • While the PCAOB regularly inspects audits of U.S.-listed firms at home and abroad, Beijing consistently and systemically challenges those efforts. For example, Chinese law requires that records remain in China, and the Communist Party routinely restricts access to typical accounting information on the grounds of national security and state secrecy.
  • The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission identified 156 Chinese companies, including 11 state-owned-enterprises, that are listed on America’s three largest exchanges with a combined market capitalization of $1.2 trillion.
  • In March 2018, the influential global index provider MSCI announced that it would quadruple its weighting of Chinese company shares in one of its key index products.