Three Chinese giants leave the New York Stock Exchange

BEIJING — Three state-owned Chinese giants on Friday announced plans to take their shares off the New York Stock Exchange amid a dispute between Washington and Beijing over whether U.S. regulators can see their auditors’ records.

PetroChina Ltd., China Life Insurance Ltd. and China Petroleum & Chemical Co. cited the low trading volume of their shares in New York and said they would still trade in Hong Kong, which is open to non-Chinese investors. None mentioned the audit conflict.

The announcements come on top of moves seen by some as a decoupling or disengagement between the United States and China, the two largest economies, due to tensions over technology and security.

US regulators have warned that some of China’s biggest companies, including e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, could be forced out of US exchanges unless Beijing agrees to allow their audit records. US officials say other governments have agreed to this process, which is required by US law. They say China and Hong Kong are the only holdouts.

Chinese officials said previous talks were progressing. US officials say major issues remain unresolved.

Friday’s announcement follows moves by Chinese companies to boost Hong Kong’s role by connecting them with overseas investors.

China’s largest ride-sharing service, Didi Chuxing, left the New York Stock Exchange on June 10 and joined the Hong Kong stock exchange. The world’s largest e-commerce company, Alibaba Group, announced plans in July to upgrade the status of its Hong Kong-traded shares, making them accessible to mainland investors.

PetroChina, China Life and China Petroleum & Chemical, widely known as Sinopec, said the shares affected were American Depository Shares, or ADSs, which represent stocks traded in Hong Kong. They said ADS owners can exchange them for shares traded in Hong Kong.

Private companies, including Alibaba, raised money on US exchanges because they were largely shut out of China’s financial system, which serves state-owned companies.

By contrast, the three companies that announced Friday they were leaving the New York Stock Exchange said the U.S. market was of little importance to them. Stocks traded in China and Hong Kong account for most of their market value.

ABC News

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