China state-owned giants to delist from US stock exchange

Three state-owned Chinese corporate giants announced plans Friday to remove their shares from the New York Stock Exchange, adding to a growing financial separation between the biggest global economies in the middle of a dispute about scrutiny of company audits.

PetroChina Ltd, China Life Insurance Ltd and China Petroleum & Chemical Co made no mention of the auditing dispute or US-Chinese tensions over Taiwan, security, technology and human rights.

The companies, in similarly worded statements issued within 30 minutes of each other, cited the small trading volume of their shares in New York. They said shares still would be traded in Hong Kong, which is open to non-Chinese investors.

Washington has warned Chinese companies including Alibaba Group, the world’s biggest e-commerce company, might be forced to leave US stock exchanges if Beijing refuses to allow regulators to see the records of their corporate auditors.

American authorities have said that other governments have agreed to that step, which is required by US law, and China and Hong Kong are the only holdouts. China said talks are making progress but US officials said important issues are unresolved.

Americans also are barred under a November 2020 order by then-President Donald Trump from investing in the stocks, bonds and other securities of dozens of companies cited by the Pentagon as possibly supporting China’s military development. The three companies that announced their departure from US markets on Friday are not on that blacklist.

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