The New York Stock Exchange has backed away from executing a controversial order from President Trump that would have removed the shares of three Chinese state-owned phone carriers.
The companies were to be removed, or “delisted,” under the order, which would ban Americans from investing in securities issued by companies that the U.S. government said were linked to the Chinese military. Beijing had warned that move could lead to retaliation.
The NYSE had no further details in its Monday announcement other than to explain they were in “further consultation” with regulators. It said last week it would remove China Telecom Corp. Ltd., China Mobile Ltd., and China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd.
In Hong Kong, shares in all three companies, which had been down in recent days, rose on Tuesday: China Telecom, 3.4%; China Mobile, 5.7%; and China Unicom, 8.5%.
The China Securities Regulatory Commission said Monday the order involved “political purposes” and “entirely ignored the actual situations of relevant companies and the legitimate rights of the global investors, and severely damaged market rule and order.” Trading was to be suspended between Thursday and next Monday, with the investment ban beginning next Monday.
The initial decision to delist the companies drew the ire of China, whose Chinese Commerce Ministry said that there would be repercussions, according to the state-run Global Times.
“China opposes the Americans from abusing national security by listing Chinese companies into the so-called ‘Communist China Military Companies’ list and will take the necessary countermeasures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies,” a spokesperson for the ministry said in a statement.
Analysts are not expecting relations with China to change very much under President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office Jan. 20, with China’s trade and human rights records among the chief concerns.