(Bloomberg) -- Two senators want the Trump administration to push for another concession in its trade negotiations with China: better protections for U.S. investors who buy shares of Chinese companies that are listed on American exchanges.
Senators Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and John Kennedy of Louisiana are urging U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to demand that China allow U.S. regulators to scrutinize the audits of Chinese companies that trade in the U.S. Critics have argued that regulators’ inability to examine such audits puts American investors at risk of buying the shares of companies that might be manipulating their financial statements.
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“The current failure of China to comply with our laws and play by the same rules as everyone else puts American investors and the credibility of our markets at risk,” Van Hollen, a Democrat, and Kennedy, a Republican, wrote in a letter to Lighthizer dated Wednesday.
The lawmakers want the Trump administration to bar Chinese companies from trading on American exchanges if they won’t turn their audits over to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a U.S. regulator. The request dovetails with legislation the two senators proposed in March.
For years, Chinese accounting firms have resisted U.S. regulators’ demands for information about their audits of U.S.-listed firms, which include giants like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.. The Chinese auditors argue that disclosing the records would violate laws that prohibit the transfer of data that might contain state secrets to foreign entities.
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