Major US firms should be forced to reveal their exposure to China and explain how their operations would be affected in the event of a significant disruption in US-China economic relations.
Jay Clayton, the former chair of the US securities regulator, will tell lawmakers on Tuesday that investors and policymakers should be aware of all potential risks,
Clayton is appearing at a hearing hosted by the House of Representatives Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, which is also taking testimony from Wall Street investor Jim Chanos and short-seller Anne Stevenson-Yang. The committee is exploring risks China poses to US financial stability.
In prepared testimony, the former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chair will propose that large companies with market capitalisations above $50 billion or with China-based revenues or costs above $10 billion should reveal their exposure to the world’s second biggest economy.
He will also recommend those companies explain how their operations would be affected in the event of a disruption in US-China economic ties.
While Clayton is no longer in government, his views as the former SEC chair still carries weight among Washington policymakers. He is currently in private legal practice.
“The goal here is to allow investors and policy makers to understand and evaluate how large companies view, and are preparing for, China‐related risks,” he will say, adding more disclosure would reduce systemic risk, as investors and policy makers would be able to move more quickly.
Clayton spent over 20 years as a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP before he became the 32nd chairman of the SEC in 2017 under former President Donald Trump’s government. He currently serves as a senior policy adviser at the New York-based law firm.
His suggestions come as relations between the world’s two biggest economies come under increasing strain after a suspected Chinese spy balloon flew over US airspace earlier this year.
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara