WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An anti-China advocacy group that includes former White House adviser Steve Bannon is calling on the Trump administration to exclude Chinese companies from US financial markets, as the White House studies new ways to crack down on China.
In a letter dated Thursday, The Committee on the Present Danger: China (CPDC) urged Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to make the move in light of a recent Senate report that found deficient oversight of Chinese state-owned telecoms companies operating in the United States.
It also comes after US President Donald Trump tasked a working group on financial markets, which includes Mnuchin, with studying US-listed Chinese companies with an eye to protect American investors. China hawks in Washington have raised concerns that US investors in Chinese companies are vulnerable to unforeseen risks because they are not subject to the same auditing and disclosure rules as American companies.
The letter from the group, whose membership also includes hedge fund manager Kyle Bass, notes that the Chinese companies flagged by the Senate report – China Telecom Americas, China Unicom Americas, and ComNet USA, as well as China Mobile, which was ousted from US consumer markets last year – have tapped US capital markets to help underwrite their allegedly “malevolent activities.”
The document urges Mnuchin’s working group to find that “Chinese companies may not be listed or traded on US equity and debt exchanges … unless they conform to all relevant US laws, accounting standards and other financial sector regulations.”
The companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Treasury did not respond to a request for comment, but a Treasury Department official who declined to be named acknowledged the letter had been received.
The letter comes amid growing pressure on Chinese telecoms companies operating in the United States. In April, the US Justice Department and other federal agencies called on the Federal Communications Commission to revoke China Telecom (Americas) Corp’s authorization to provide international telecommunications services to and from the United States.
(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; editing by Jonathan Oatis)