Dec 02 2020
WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives today passed Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Chris Van Hollen’s (D-Md.) 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 bill unanimously in May.
“Communist China is right now using U.S. stock exchanges to exploit American workers and families—people who put their retirement and college savings in public companies. U.S. policy is letting China flout rules that American companies play by, and it’s dangerous. Today, the House joined the Senate in rejecting a toxic status quo. I’m thankful to Sen. Van Hollen and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting this commonsense solution to a threat that’s never been more urgent. President Trump has led the way in calling Chinese Communist dishonesty to account, and I’m glad to see this bill head to his desk,” said Kennedy.
“Millions of American families rely on modest investments to retire, send their kids to college, and weather financial emergencies. But many have been cheated out of their money after investing in seemingly-legitimate Chinese companies that are not held to the same standards as other publicly listed companies. This bill rights that wrong, ensuring that all companies on the U.S. exchanges abide by the same rules. I’ve been proud to work with Senator Kennedy on this bipartisan legislation, and I’m glad to see it pass the House with such strong support. I urge the President to sign this bill into law immediately,” said Van Hollen.
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.
“ASA applauds Senators Kennedy and Van Hollen, and congressional leaders on both sides of the aisles, for coming together to protect American investors and retirement savers from fraudulent companies controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). For far too long, the CCP has exploited American investors to finance its cyber army, its technology-driven elimination of civil liberties, its human rights abuses, and its destruction of the environment,” said American Securities Association CEO Chris Iacovella.
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.