The NYSE backtracks on plans to delist 3 Chinese telecoms

January 5, 2021, 4:47 AM UTC

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Last Thursday, the New York Stock Exchange announced it had begun a process of delisting three Chinese telecom companies from its bourse, to keep in line with an executive order issued by President Donald Trump in November that seeks to bar certain Chinese companies from U.S. markets.

On Monday, shares in the telecoms—China Unicom Hong Kong, China Mobile, and China Telecom—tumbled up to 5%, and the three companies issued statements telling investors how they could swap their American depositary shares (ADS) for stock listed in Hong Kong. Elsewhere, index funds like the FTSE Russell announced they would remove the companies from their indexes.

Then, late Monday in New York, the NYSE announced it won’t be delisting the companies after all.

“In light of further consultation with relevant regulatory authorities in connection with Office of Foreign Assets Control FAQ 857, [the NYSE] announced today that NYSE Regulation no longer intends to move forward with the delisting action in relation to the three issuers,” the bourse operator said in a statement.

It’s not clear why the NYSE backtracked on its plans. Trump’s November executive order called for the delisting of what it dubbed “Communist Chinese military” companies, or firms that Washington says support the Chinese military, from U.S. markets. Weeks later, the Treasury Department released a list of 35 so-called Communist Chinese military companies, including China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom.

China Mobile and the NYSE didn’t immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment on Tuesday. But in its statement late Monday, the NYSE said its decision to delist or not isn’t over, as NYSE regulators “continue to evaluate the applicability” of the outgoing President’s executive order.

China Unicom issued a statement on Tuesday morning through the Hong Kong stock exchange, where it is also listed, that said it had seen the NYSE’s reversal and would “continue to monitor” the situation.

China Telecom issued a similarly-worded statement around the same time.

Both telecoms advised investors to “exercise caution” in dealing with their company’s shares.