“The SEC, CFTC, Treasury, Federal Reserve and entire Senate are on the same page. Now, it’s time for the House to enshrine this policy in law. Short of that, we cannot ensure that firms beholden to Communist China will let U.S. regulators examine their books, which means we can’t protect American retirement and college savings from being exploited.”
WASHINGTON – President Trump’s Working Group on Financial Markets, tasked with examining risks to investors posed by the Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges, today issued recommendations inspired by the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement in response to the working group’s decision:
“We’re thankful the president’s working group is committed to holding fraudulent Chinese companies accountable. The SEC, CFTC, Treasury, Federal Reserve and entire Senate are on the same page. Now, it’s time for the House to enshrine this policy in law. Short of that, we cannot ensure that firms beholden to Communist China will let U.S. regulators examine their books, which means we can’t protect American retirement and college savings from being exploited,” said Kennedy.
The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act passed the Senate unanimously this May.
Kennedy introduced the legislation to protect American investors and their retirement savings from foreign companies that have been operating on U.S. stock exchanges while flouting SEC oversight.
On June 4, the Trump Administration issued a presidential memorandum on protecting American investors from the risks posed by Chinese companies that list on U.S. exchanges.
“We must take firm, orderly action to end the Chinese practice of flouting American transparency requirements without negatively affecting American investors and financial markets. We must ensure that laws providing protections for investors in American financial markets are fully enforced for companies listed on United States stock exchanges,” said the memorandum.
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 savings, and dishonest companies operating on the exchanges put Americans at risk. This legislation protects the interest of American investors by ensuring that foreign companies traded in America are subject to the same independent audit requirements that apply to American companies.
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.