Experts have expressed their optimism for a corporate auditing agreement reached by China and the United States, saying the deal is likely to help Chinese companies retain their listings on U.S. stock exchanges.
"It's a great step forward because there is no audit oversight if there's not an agreement in place. That's the case in China, and it's the case in many countries in the world. And now, the PCAOB has an agreement that's a fantastic step forward," said Liza McAndrew Moberg, referring to the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. "I applaud that development both on the U.S. side as well as the Chinese side." She made the remarks on Sept 15 at a webinar hosted by the Peterson Institution for International Economics.
Officials of the PCAOB, the U.S. audit watchdog, announced an agreement with their Chinese counterparts last month. In doing so, they took the first step toward opening full access for them to inspect and investigate registered public accounting firms headquartered on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong, consistent with U.S. law, in a move that avoids the delisting of more than 100 Chinese firms from U.S. stock markets.
Gary Gensler, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, said that the PCAOB would review the audit work papers of Chinese companies that trade in New York from next week.
Moberg said the audit deal between the U.S. and China means a "big threshold has been passed" for the PCAOB.
Eric Forni, a partner of DLA Piper, a multinational law firm headquartered in London, said at the webinar that the PCAOB may still face challenges during inspection work.
However, Forni said that he agreed with Moberg's assessment that the audit agreement "is not a one-time deal".