01/05/2021, 13.53
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NYSE makes U-turn, decides not to delist Chinese companies

The New York Stock Exchange had announced plans to delist three Chinese telecommunications giants. Legal considerations and Joe Biden’s imminent arrival are behind the change of direction. Trump imposed limits on investments in China's tech companies. Beijing accuses Washington of targeting its companies for political reasons.

New York (AsiaNews) – The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) last night announced that it will no longer delist three Chinese telecommunications giants, saying that it decision was based on “further consultation" with regulatory authorities over the guidance from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

On 31 December 2020, the NYSE had announced that it would delist China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom, which have been traded on Wall Street for more than 20 years.

The three, which are traded in Hong Kong, do not have a significant presence in the US. Currently, more than 200 Chinese companies are listed on US stock exchanges with a total capitalisation of US$ 2.2 trillion.

According to analysts, the NYSE's initial move followed a recent executive order signed by President Donald Trump barring US investments in Chinese firms and their subsidiaries that US authorities say are owned or controlled by China’s military.

In addition to legal issues, the NYSE’s U-turn appears to be a good-will gesture towards China, waiting to see what strategy the new US president, Joe Biden, will adopt towards the Asian giant after he takes over on 20 January.

The NYSE however indicated that it might revisit its decision, and that it would continue to evaluate the applicability of Mr Trump's executive order, which comes into effect on 11 January. For the three companies, delisting thus remains a distinct possibility.

In a statement released this morning, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it had taken notice of the NYSE’s change of direction.

On several occasions, Chinese authorities have criticized the Trump administration, accused of targeting foreign companies listed in the US for political reasons.

As part of a wider geopolitical conflict with China that began in in 2018, the Trump administration launched a campaign against a number of  Chinese tech companies, especially those involved in the development of the 5G internet network (Huawei), artificial intelligence, and microchips.

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