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Alibaba, JD, Pinduoduo's US Listing Fate Hangs In Balance As House Votes On Audit Rules Bill This Week

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Alibaba, JD, Pinduoduo's US Listing Fate Hangs In Balance As House Votes On Audit Rules Bill This Week

The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on a legislation on Wednesday that could force the delisting of Chinese stocks in the country if they don't comply with audit regulations, reports the Wall Street Journal. The legislation would require a two-thirds majority for passage of the bill into law.

What Happened: The vote is critical for companies like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA), JD.Com Inc (NASDAQ: JD), and Pinduoduo Inc (NASDAQ: PDD) as the passage of the new law will give Chinese companies and its auditors three years to comply with inspection requirements.

The legislation has bipartisan support and was unanimously passed the Senate in May. According to WSJ, if the House approves the measure, it will be eligible for outgoing President Donald Trump's signature.

This measure is more punitive than a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposal under consideration, which requires compliance with audit norms for continued listing but allows non-compliant companies to trade over the counter.

Why It Matters: Chinese officials have criticized the bill and expect better ways to resolve differences with Washington over audit rules. The officials said that delisting Chinese companies would harm the capital markets, the Journal noted. 

China objects to foreign oversight of its companies, including laws that block firms from cooperating with overseas criminal or securities regulatory investigations. 

"It's not a tolerable situation to go on indefinitely ignoring the fact that one country won't comply with the same inspection norms that the rest of the world does," said Dan Goelzer, a former SEC general counsel and a former PCAOB member. The SEC Chairman Jay Clayton lent support to the legislative action in a written statement Friday.

Since 2014, more than 170 China or Hong Kong-based companies have completed IPOs in the U.S., raising roughly $58.7 billion.

 

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