NYSE will delist three big China telecoms, reversing decision once again

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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, Nov. 5, 2018.
Aly Song | Reuters

The New York Stock Exchange will delist three Chinese telecommunication giants after all.

The stock exchange will remove U.S.-traded shares of China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom from the Big Board, the NYSE said Wednesday.

Last week, the NYSE said it would delist the shares to comply with an executive order signed by President Donald Trump. The order sought to bar American companies and individuals from investing in firms that the administration alleged aid the Chinese military.

It then reversed that decision on Monday, causing much confusion. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the exchange that he disagreed with the reversal, a senior administration official told CNBC’s Eamon Javers on Tuesday.

The NYSE said the second reversal was due to new guidance from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control that people in the U.S. could not engage in certain transactions with the three companies as of Jan. 11.

China Mobile shares fell 3.5% in premarket trading following the NYSE update. China Telecom lost more than 4%, while China Unicom lost 1% in early trading.

Chinese officials criticized the NYSE’s original decision, with a spokesperson for the China Securities Regulatory Commission saying Monday that the executive order, “entirely ignored the actual situations of relevant companies and the legitimate rights of the global investors, and severely damaged market rule and order.”

Trump issued the original order in November, and the administration had previously directed the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to avoid investing in Chinese companies.

—With reporting by Christine Wang

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