Trump raises the stakes with plan to delist Chinese firms

Donald Trump with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The US leader’s latest move to limit Chinese firms comes ahead of trade talks between the two countries in early October. (AP)
Updated 29 September 2019

Trump raises the stakes with plan to delist Chinese firms

  • Growing security concerns around company activities prompt US stock exchange threat, sources say

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump’s administration is considering delisting Chinese companies from US stock exchanges, three sources briefed on the matter said, in what would be a radical escalation of US-China trade tensions.

The move would be part of a broader effort to limit US investment in Chinese companies, two of the sources said. One said it was motivated by the Trump administration’s growing security concerns about the companies’ activities.

Major US stock indexes slipped on the news, which came days before China celebrates the 70th anniversary of the birth of the People’s Republic on Oct. 1, when the world’s No. 2 economy will shut down for a week of festivities.

It was not immediately clear how any delisting would work.

In June, US lawmakers from both parties introduced a bill to force Chinese companies listed on American stock exchanges to submit to regulatory oversight, including providing access to audits, or face delisting.

Chinese authorities have been reluctant to let overseas regulators inspect local accounting firms,  citing national security concerns.

“Beijing should no longer be allowed to shield US-listed Chinese companies from complying with American laws and regulations for financial transparency and accountability,” Republican Senator Marco Rubio said at the time.

One of the sources said the idea of delisting was the latest salvo in this longstanding dispute.

“This is a high priority for the administration. Chinese companies not complying with the PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board) process poses risks to US investors,” the source said.

Any plan is subject to approval by Trump, who has given the green light to the discussion, Bloomberg reported, citing a person close to the deliberations.

Officials are also examining how the US could put limits on Chinese companies included in stock indexes managed by US firms.

No decision or action is imminent, two sources said.

As of February, 156 Chinese companies were listed on the NASDAQ and New York Stock Exchanges, according to US government data. 

NYSE declined to comment, while Nasdaq, MSCI, S&P and FTSE Russell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

China’s yuan currency, traded in offshore markets, fell against the dollar after the news to trade near its weakest against the greenback in about three weeks.

Trade talks between the US and China are expected to be held on Oct. 10-11 after months of tit-for-tat moves by both sides that have weakened global growth.

While the idea of delisting could be a maneuver ahead of those talks, the main aim was to counteract the civilian-military fusion of Chinese tech firms, the Made in China 2025 industrial development program targeting key industries for domination, and a growing surveillance state in Xinjiang, one of the sources said.

The source said there are concerns about US capital enabling these activities, especially as the lines blur between state-owned and private companies in China.


Getting more women into leadership positions top priority: CEO

This June 23, 2018 photo, shows a general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP)
Updated 18 January 2020

Getting more women into leadership positions top priority: CEO

  • Saudi Arabia is focusing on the Business 20 (B20), making this one of the key engagement groups. Women in Business will be Saudi Arabia’s signature topic

RIYADH: The boss of one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest banks says that getting more women into leadership positions is a top priority.
Samba CEO Rania Nashar chairs the action council for Women in Business created by the Business Twenty (B20), which is the official G20 dialogue with the business community. It represents the global business community across all G20 member states and all economic sectors.
She said the council was set up to boost women’s particpation not only in business but also in global leadership positions.
During the launch of the B20 in Saudi Arabia this week, Nashar highlighted the under-representation of women in the economy.
“There is a gap of 27 percent between male and female workers; 75 percent of males are part of the labor force while only 48 percent of females are working,” she said.
She said it was important not to just talk about women as workers but as business owners.

FASTFACT

Saudi Arabia will host the 15th G20 Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 21-22, 2020.

“That’s why entrepreneurship is very fundamental to our task force,” she said.  “The majority of the finance development programs have incentives for giving loans to females; however, despite the fact that many large borrowers are females, the amount of loans granted to them is far below what is granted to males,” she added.
Nashar said that two-thirds of female business founders feel that they were not taken seriously by investors when they pitch for investments. They also feel that they are treated differently from their male counterparts.
Saudi Arabia will host the 15th G20 Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 21-22, 2020. The Kingdom is focusing on the Business 20 (B20), making this one of the key engagement groups. Women in Business will be Saudi Arabia’s signature topic.