China threatens retaliation over NYSE delisting of companies

The Chinese government has said it would take necessary counter-measures in response to the New York Stock Exchange’s announcement that it would delist three major Chinese telecoms firms.

The stock exchange said on Thursday that it would delist China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom Hong Kong, with trading of the companies to be suspended sometime between January 7 and January 11.

The move – the latest flare-up of tensions between Beijing and Washington – stems from an executive order issued by US president Donald Trump on November 12 barring investment in publicly traded companies that the US government says are owned or controlled by the Chinese military.

China Telecom
China Telecom

A spokesman for the Chinese commerce ministry said: “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.”

He added that the actions will also “greatly weaken all parties’ confidence in the US capital market”.

The ministry did not offer details on what the measures might be.

Under Mr Trump, the US has stepped up economic sanctions and travel bans against Chinese companies, government officials and Communist Party members, especially recently in Mr Trump’s last few weeks in office.

In December, the US announced plans to limit visas for members of the Chinese Communist Party and their family members to one month, instead of 10 years.

Chinese tech giant Huawei has been shut out of the American market, and the US has lobbied other countries to follow suit, albeit with mixed results.