U.S.-listed Chinese stocks audit dispute: China regulator tells auditors to consider preparing for inspections

The China Securities Regulatory Commission and U.S. securities regulators have been locked in a dispute over allowing U.S. review of Chinese company audits, threatening delisting in coming years.
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BEIJING — China has sent another signal of progress toward resolving an audit dispute that’s threatened U.S.-listed Chinese companies with delisting.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission said in a statement to CNBC Friday that it convened a meeting this week with some accounting firms and told them to consider preparing for joint inspections.

Chinese and U.S. regulators’ consultations on audit supervision and cooperation are overall going well, the commission said.

Since March, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has started to name specific U.S.-listed Chinese stocks for failing to adhere to the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act. Passed in 2020, the act would allow the SEC to delist Chinese companies from U.S. exchanges if American regulators cannot review company audits for three consecutive years.

“We continue to meet and engage with PRC authorities in an effort to achieve a cooperative agreement that provides the PCAOB with the access required to inspect and investigate completely auditors headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong,” the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) said in a statement.

“Speculation about a final agreement between the PCAOB and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) authorities on PCAOB access to audit firms headquartered in China and Hong Kong is premature,” the PCAOB statement said.

Accounting firm KPMG declined to comment. Deloitte, PwC and EY did not respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.

Sophie Tremblay

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