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'Positive progress' achieved in audit cooperation oversight

By Zhou Lanxu | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-12-05 20:29

Top securities regulators from China and the United States have achieved "positive progress" in promoting cooperation on auditing oversight, according to a statement released by the China Securities Regulatory Commission on Sunday.

There have been "candid and constructive" consultations to resolve the problems in audit oversight cooperation among relevant regulatory authorities, including the CSRC, the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the statement said.

"The CSRC has made positive progress on several important issues," the commission said, adding that it will work with its US counterparts to resolve the remaining issues "in the near future".

With pilot inspection programs setting a good foundation, a cooperation mechanism acceptable to all parties can be agreed to as long as regulators from both sides continue to negotiate in the spirit of mutual respect and trust, and deal with regulatory issues in a rational, pragmatic and professional way, the commission said.

"Forcing Chinese companies to delist from US stock exchanges is by no means a responsible policy option," it added.

The statement came after the SEC adopted amendments on Thursday to finalize rules relating to the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act.

Experts said the move exposed many US-listed Chinese companies to the risk of forced delisting, unless the accounting oversight board can inspect their audit firms.

US-listed Chinese firms suffered big share sell-offs on Friday. Didi Global Inc, the country's largest ride-hailing company, on Friday announced it will start delisting from the New York Stock Exchange, shedding 22.2 percent of its share price to close at $6.07.

David Lu, managing director and China leader of corporate finance practice with Duff & Phelps, a part of Kroll, said the two sides may reach some consensus to keep US markets open to Chinese issuers as this is in the interests of all market stakeholders. However, addressing all the disagreements in a short period remains difficult, Lu added.

The commission said it fully respects Chinese companies' independent choices of overseas listing venues and some domestic companies have been actively communicating with domestic and foreign regulators to seek listings in US markets.

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