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Senate Passes Bill to Boost Oversight of Chinese Firms on US Stock Exchange
The Senate passed the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act on May 20, dropping a bomb on the Chinese stock market. The lawmakers who initiated the bill expressed hope that it would help prevent Chinese companies from committing fraud in the United States. The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, sponsored by Republican Senator John Kennedy and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, was passed by unanimous consent on May 21. According to the Act, securities of a company are prohibited 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. Specifically, the bill requires a company to prove it’s not owned or controlled by a foreign government if the PCAOB is unable to audit specified reports because the company uses a foreign accounting firm not subject to inspection by the board. John Kennedy, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, tweeted on May 20 that: "It’s asinine we’re giving Chinese companies the chance to exploit hard working Americans because we don’t insist on examining their books. I hope the House sends this bill to POTUS to protect Americans and their savings." Kennedy's tweet on Tuesday stated: "The Chinese Communist Party cheats, and the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act would stop them from cheating on U.S. stock exchanges. We can’t let foreign threats to Americans’ retirement funds take root in our exchanges." Kennedy said in a statement: "There are plenty of markets all over the world open to cheaters, but America can’t afford to be one of them.” On May 20, Chinese technology stocks fell on the news, with Alibaba closing down more than 2% and Baidu down 1.12%. The credit history of China Concepts Stocks hasn’t been good. Chinese companies listed in the U.S., such as Luckin Coffee, also face increased scrutiny. The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act still needs to be passed by the House of Representatives and signed by President Trump to become law.