Tuesday, March 28

China to change confidentiality rules involving companies’ offshore listings

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SHANGHAI — China on Saturday proposed revising confidentiality rules involving offshore listings, removing a legal hurdle to Sino-US cooperation on audit oversight while putting the onus on Chinese companies to protect state secretes.

The draft rule, announced by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, is Beijing’s latest attempt to resolve a long-running audit dispute with Washington that could lead to roughly 270 Chinese companies being forced to delist from US exchanges in 2024.

China’s updated rules will scrap requirements that on-site inspection of overseas-listed Chinese companies be conducted mainly by Chinese regulators.

That could open the door to inspections by US regulators, who demand complete access to such firms’ audit working papers, which are stored in China.

The draft makes clear that Chinese companies are responsible for information security in overseas listings. (Reporting by Reuters Shanghai and Beijing newsroom; Editing by William Mallard)