As the White House continues to discuss clamping down on the flow of capital between the U.S. and China, including tougher oversight of American stock exchanges and limiting investment of federal retirement assets in Chinese companies, few Washington observers are ready to take bets on where it may wind up.
But for now, the prospect of the U.S. doing something, anything, is garnering some bipartisan support and raising hopes.
"I'm glad to see that the Trump administration is finally paying attention," Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said in an emailed statement.
Mr. Van Hollen is co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill with Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, "that would make sure that Chinese companies listed on American stock exchanges are held to the same rules as everyone else — and that those who refuse are delisted. Our plan would do so with the least possible disruption to the market and to American shareholders," he said.
The bill would require foreign companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission to meet Public Company Accounting Oversight Board standards. Companies refusing the requirement for three years in a row would no longer be listed in U.S. markets.
So far, "China stands alone in its non-compliance" by not even allowing U.S. regulators to see the books, and some Chinese firms escaped initial SEC inspection by merging with American shell companies, said Mr. Van Hollen.