President signs Kennedy’s bill to protect Americans from fraudulent foreign companies into law
Dec 18 2020
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump today signed into law Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) bill to protect American investors and their savings from foreign companies that operate on U.S. stock exchanges while refusing to submit to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) oversight.
The Senate passed the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act unanimously in May, and the House passed the bill unanimously earlier this month. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) was an original cosponsor of the legislation.
“Communist China has been the bully on the playground of America’s stock exchanges for years, and that stops today. With President Trump’s signature, Chinese firms that flout the rules that American and other companies follow do so at their own peril. Any foreign company that doesn’t submit to our audits has to grow up or get off U.S. exchanges—they can’t keep using our markets to exploit workers and families. I’m grateful to the president for calling Chinese Communist dishonesty to account by making fairness and common sense the law. Thanks to the partnership of Sen. Van Hollen and bipartisan, bicameral consensus, Americans finally have protection against Chinese Communist lackeys that would defraud them on U.S. soil,” said Kennedy.
The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act prohibits securities of a company from being listed on any of the U.S. securities exchanges if the company has failed to comply with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s (PCAOB) audits for three years in a row.
The bill would also require public companies to disclose whether they are owned or controlled by a foreign government, including China’s communist government.
Many Americans invest in U.S. stock exchanges as part of their retirement and college savings, and dishonest companies operating on the exchanges put Americans at risk, as Luckin Coffee did. This legislation protects the interest of hardworking American investors by ensuring that foreign companies traded in America are subject to the same independent audit requirements that apply to their competitors in America and other countries.
Congress established the PCAOB to inspect audits of public companies, ensuring the information companies provide to the public is accurate, independent and trustworthy.
Currently, China’s communist government refuses to allow the PCAOB to inspect audits of companies registered in China and Hong Kong. Such companies represent a keen risk to American investors as nearly 11 percent of all securities class action lawsuits in 2011 were brought against Chinese-owned companies accused of misrepresenting themselves in financial documents.
According to the SEC, 224 U.S.-listed companies are located in countries where there are obstacles to PCAOB inspections. These companies have a combined market capitalization of more than $1.8 trillion.
In the last 10 years, the number of Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges has increased significantly, as those firms take advantage of the capital available in America.
The bill text is available here.