By Dave Michaels and Alexander Osipovich 

WASHINGTON -- The House unanimously approved legislation on Wednesday that threatens a trading ban of shares of Chinese companies, such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., over concerns that their audits aren't sufficiently regulated.

The bipartisan measure passed the Senate in May and could quickly become law with President Trump's signature. The fight over China's resistance to allowing overseas inspections of its companies' audits has lasted for years, but reached a fever pitch during the Trump administration.

Under the measure, Chinese companies and their auditors would have three years to comply with the inspections before a trading prohibition could take effect. If a breakthrough looked unlikely, the companies would likely respond ahead of a ban by either going private or moving their listing to a non-U.S. exchange.

U.S. regulators are working on another proposal that could allow Chinese auditors to comply with the inspection requirement without violating their home country's laws, which limit the sharing of information. The Securities and Exchange Commission could issue such a proposal this month, although it would not immediately take effect.

Write to Dave Michaels at dave.michaels@wsj.com and Alexander Osipovich at alexander.osipovich@dowjones.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 02, 2020 17:09 ET (22:09 GMT)

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