House passes bill targeting Chinese companies

The U.S. House has passed a law to put Chinese companies under closer scrutiny and could see them delisted if they don't follow tighter rules.

The bill gives President Donald Trump another tool to threaten Beijing with as he approaches his final weeks in office, and clearing the House makes it almost certain it will become law.

It would bar any foreign companies from listing on a U.S. exchange if they fail to disclose ties to foreign governments.

But the legislation is intended to target Chinese companies, such as Alibaba, tech firm Pinduoduo and oil giant PetroChina.

The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

However, before the vote, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying called it a discriminatory policy that politically oppresses Chinese firms.

Measures taking a harder line on Chinese business and trade practices generally pass Congress with large margins.

Both Democrats and Trump's fellow Republicans echo the president's hard line against Beijing.

Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, a co-author of the bill, aid in a statement that American investors "have been cheated out of their money after investing in seemingly-legitimate Chinese companies that are not held to the same standards as other publicly listed companies."

'The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act' is now headed to Trump, who is likely to sign it into law.