SEC to meet Chinese counterparts

U.S. securities and accounting regulators will meet Chinese counterparts next week to negotiate an agreement on joint U.S.-Chinese inspections of auditing firms in China, the U.S. government said on Friday.

Representatives from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) will meet officials from China's ministry of finance and the China Securities Regulatory Commission in Beijing, PCAOB said in a statement.

A string of accounting scandals at U.S.-listed Chinese companies has increased pressure on regulators in both nations to toughen oversight of Chinese auditors.

"I believe we share a common objective with Chinese regulators to protect investors and safeguard audit quality through our mutual cooperation," PCAOB chairman James R. Doty said.

U.S. and Chinese officials agreed in May during U.S.-China economic dialogue in Washington D.C. that the two sides should step up efforts to come to terms, and some sort of deal was likely to be reached, analysts said.

A full-fledged agreement that allows the PCAOB, the U.S. auditor watchdog, to review the work and papers of China-based auditors through formal inspections would be difficult to achieve, they said.

[Source: Reuters, Beijing, 08Jul11]

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