‘A step in the process’: PCAOB, China agree on U.S. audit access

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U.S. audit regulators are set to end yearslong inspection barriers to the work of public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong after the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) reached agreement with Chinese regulators Friday on a new access framework.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) and the Ministry of Finance of the People’s Republic of China will allow the United States “complete access to the audit work papers, audit personnel, and other information we need to inspect and investigate any firm we choose, with no loopholes and no exceptions,” said PCAOB Chair Erica Williams in a statement. Talks between the two sides have been ongoing for months, with the United States standing firm it must receive full access for any deal to be reached.

Despite the agreement, part of a signed statement of protocol, U.S. regulators have made clear the ultimate test remains in whether China will uphold its end of the deal.

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