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NYSE backtracks on delisting China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom

China

The New York Stock Exchange announced, and then backtracked on delisting Chinese telecom companies China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. “In light of further consultation with relevant regulatory authorities in connection with Office of Foreign Assets Control FAQ 857, available here, the New York Stock Exchange LLC (“NYSE”) announced today that NYSE Regulation no longer intends to move forward with the delisting action in relation to the three” companies, the NYSE said in a press release on January 4. The delisting was first announced on New Year’s Eve.

The delisting was announced as compliance with the Trump administration’s executive order on “Addressing the Threat from Securities Investments that Finance Communist Chinese Military Companies”. The US Department of Treasury subsequently said in a clarification that this executive order, which banned American companies from dealing with companies with ties to China’s military, also applied to subsidiaries. The NYSE, without offering much by way of explanation, reversed its implementation, indicating that it no longer considered the three Chinese telecom companies a subsidiary.

The Trump administration, and to some extent, previous administrations, have acted against Chinese telecom companies, designating them as threats to national security, and have pushed other countries to pick other vendors. A part of this strategy has also involved preventing Chinese telecom companies, which have some presence in the US, from doing business in the country. The delisting from the stock exchanges was mostly symbolic per the New York Times, which pointed out that investors could still trade the companies’ shares in other bourses. However, the reason for the reversal is not clear. Bloomberg reported that analysts have been surprised by it.

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