Negotiations between China and the US on regulatory cooperation
Talks between the Chinese regulator and the US authorities have started regarding the inspection of Chinese companies listed on the US stock exchange. Negotiations could prevent these companies from withdrawing from the US stock market after years of non-compliance.
The US regulator, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) released a report on Friday in which it stated that:
PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely” registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong because of the position taken by authorities in those markets. We remain interested in a relationship with [Chinese] authorities that facilitates the access necessary to oversee PCAOB-registered audit firms in mainland China and Hong Kong.
According to PCAOB, seven mainland Chinese accounting firms and eight Hong Kong firms are currently awaiting audit. The PCAOB also emphasizes that there must be consistent access to audit work in all jurisdictions. In the event that the current situation is not resolved, the PCAOB will seek to remove Chinese issuers from the stock exchange.
Soon after this PCAOB report, the China Securities Regulatory Commission issued its statement. The relevant Chinese and US regulators have already entered into negotiations on regulatory cooperation, she said. The Commission concluded:
We are ready to have further discussions with US authorities any time. As long as both sides adopt an approach of mutual respect and trust that follows international practice, the two sides can find a path that could meet the regulatory requirements of both parties to protect the interests of the global investors and the development of the capital markets of the two countries.
China has long denied US securities regulators the ability to control the financial audits of Chinese companies listed on the US stock exchange. China’s argument was the obligation to maintain state secrecy.