The NYSE ban on three Chinese telcos is back

Latest reversal comes after the exchange received 'guidance' from the US Treasury.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has once again changed its mind over whether to delist a trio of Chinese telcos.

NYSE said it would continue with its original plan to delist China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicom Hong Kong on January 11.

"On January 5, 2021, the Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control provided additional, specific guidance to the NYSE stating that US persons cannot engage in certain transactions ... after 9:30am eastern standard time on January 11, 2021," the NYSE said.

"Accordingly, NYSE Regulation has announced that it will move forward with delisting."

Only two days ago, the exchange said it was reversing the decision taken on New Year's Eve.

The delisting action was taken to comply with a 12 November 2020 executive order from outgoing US president Donald Trump.

In the executive order, Trump said the People's Republic of China (PRC) was "exploiting United States capital" to boost and update its military, which he claimed would allow Beijing to threaten the US and its overseas forces, as well as develop "advanced conventional weapons and malicious cyber-enabled actions against the United States and its people".

"Through the national strategy of Military-Civil Fusion, the PRC increases the size of the country's military-industrial complex by compelling civilian Chinese companies to support its military and intelligence activities," Trump said.

"Those companies, though remaining ostensibly private and civilian, directly support the PRC's military, intelligence, and security apparatuses and aid in their development and modernisation."

Trump also said the PRC "exploits United States investors" to finance its military.

China Securities Regulatory Commission returned fire after the original ban was announced, and said the ban was politically motivated and ignored the rights of investors while severely damaging the market.

It added that the size of the listings on American markets was under 2.2% of the total shares on offer, so the direct impact of the delisting was "rather limited".

"The role of the US as an international financial centre, is built on the trust of the global enterprises and investors in the inclusiveness and certainty of its rules and institutions," the Commission said.

"The recent move by some political forces in the US to continuously and groundlessly suppress foreign companies listed on the US markets, even at the cost of undermining its own position in the global capital markets, has demonstrated that US rules and institutions can become arbitrary, reckless, and unpredictable. It is certainly not a wise move."

Yesterday, Trump signed an executive order to ban eight Chinese apps -- Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office -- citing national security concerns.

"Action must be taken to address the threat posed by these Chinese connected software applications," Trump said.

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