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NYSE Backtracks on Plan to Delist Chinese Telecommunications Firms

Signs of China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicom are seen during the China International Import Expo (CIIE) at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, China, November 5, 2018. (Aly Song/Reuters)

The New York Stock Exchange has reversed a decision to delist China’s top three telecommunications companies, following consultations with U.S. regulatory authorities.

The Trump administration added the three firms, China Mobile Ltd., China Telecom Corp. and China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd., to a blacklist in December over alleged connections to the People’s Liberation Army. The NYSE subsequently announced it would delist the firms on January 7, but backtracked on Monday for unspecified reasons.

“In light of further consultation with relevant regulatory authorities…NYSE Regulation no longer intends to move forward with the delisting action,” the NYSE said in a statement. “At this time, the Issuers will continue to be listed and traded on the NYSE.”

The blacklist covers 35 companies, including the parent companies of the three telecom firms that were given a reprieve. The Treasury Department announced last week that it would add subsidiaries to the blacklist if they were majority owned by a banned company. The NYSE did not explain why that rationale did not apply to the three firms.

The three firms would not be greatly affected by a delisting because most of their business is conducted in China, although a ban would likely force American investors to sell off their own shares at a loss, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Trump administration’s blacklist, which seeks to prevent American investment in and export to companies with connections to China’s military and intelligence agencies, covers dozens of companies including China’s national semiconductor chip manufacturer.

“Entity List restrictions are a necessary measure to ensure that China, through its national champion SMIC, is not able to leverage U.S. technologies to enable indigenous advanced technology levels to support its destabilizing military activities,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told the Journal in December.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.