Thursday 14 May 2020 4:40 pm

Trump says Chinese companies could be forced to follow US accounting standards

The US government is thinking about imposing stricter requirements on Chinese companies listing on the US stock exchange as President Donald Trump ramps up the pressure on China amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Chinese companies do not have to follow US accounting standards, which has led to incidences of fraud and caused investor losses.

Trump told Fox Business today that the US is looking “very strongly” at making Chinese companies follow US accounting standards.

Read more: Tory MPs call for trade bill overhaul amid fears over UK’s reliance on China

He said if those rules were brought in, Chinese companies might say “’OK, we’ll move to London or we’ll go to Hong Kong.’”

This week the US ordered government retirement fun, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, to divest $4bn of equity stakes in Chinese companies.

The US and China signed a trade deal in January after months of tension. The spread of coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan in China, has cast a pall over the bilateral relationship between the two economic powers.

“I’m very disappointed in China,” Trump told Fox.

“They should have never let this happen. So I make a great trade deal and now I say this doesn’t feel the same to me. The ink was barely dry and the plague came over. And it doesn’t feel the same to me,” he said.

Read more: Wuhan to test entire 11m population after fresh coronavirus outbreak

Trump’s disquiet extended to Chinese President Xi Jinping, with whom, Trump says repeatedly, he has a good relationship. “But I just – right now I don’t want to speak to him. I don’t want to speak to him,” Trump said.

Under the deal signed in January, Beijing pledged to buy at least $200bn in additional US goods and services over two years while Washington agreed to roll back tariffs on Chinese goods in stages.

A Chinese state-run newspaper has reported that some government advisers in Beijing were urging fresh talks and possibly invalidating the agreement.

Read more: FTSE 100 tumbles as investors doubt coronavirus recovery

Trump said again he was not interested in renegotiating.

While US intelligence agencies said the virus did not appear to be man-made or genetically modified, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said early in May there is “a significant amount of evidence” it came from a laboratory in Wuhan.

Pompeo’s comments followed Trump’s assertion on 30 April that he was confident the virus may have originated in a Chinese virology laboratory. In April, the World Health Organization said all available evidence suggested the virus originated in bats and was not manipulated or constructed in a lab.

In the Fox interview, which was taped on Wednesday, Trump focused more on China’s response to the outbreak than on its origin.

“We have a lot of information, and it’s not good. Whether it came from the lab or came from the bats, it all came from China, and they should have stopped it. They could have stopped it, at the source,” he said.

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