On Thursday, U.S. regulators killed off sale of the Chicago Stock Exchange to a China-based lead group of investors saying that a lack of background information on the buyers was a threat to its ability to carry out proper monitoring of the exchange following the sale.
The move by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brings the curtain down on a two-year battle for approval of the sale and points to the more hostile environment faced by Chinese buyers under the administration of U.S. president Donald Trump.
During the election campaign the 45th USA president pointed to the CHX deal as an example of how American jobs and wealth were leaving the country.
"We must continue to be vigilant, with thorough oversight, to prevent the highly-coordinated and strategic efforts of the Communist Chinese government to threaten our national security through malicious business investments", Republican Congressman Robert Pittenger said in a statement on the issue.
Under the proposal, the Chinese-led North America Casin Holdings group would have bought a minority share of the privately owned Chicago Stock Exchange.
The exchange, which handles less than 1% of daily U.S. stock trading, was hoping the sale could be a springboard to a brighter future, attracting new listings and investments from China. CHX would not comment Thursday after the announcement of the final decision.
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In the latest signs of friction, Beijing earlier in February launched an anti-dumping investigation into US sorghum shipments following the US Commerce Department's "self-initiated" dumping probe into Chinese aluminium imports in late November.
Friday is Lunar New Year's day, a public holiday in China. It also had planned to at some point to build an exchange based in China using CHX technology. The regulator said this "raises significant doubts" that it would be able to monitor the exchange if the deal went through.
In August, the SEC said it was reconsidering the sale after staff recommended the $20 million deal.
In its decision to reject the deal, the S.E.C. said the proposal left too many unanswered questions about who would ultimately have control over big decisions at the exchange.
A spokesman for the Chicago Stock Exchange declined to comment. United States politicians who had opposed the stock exchange deal said they applauded the decision.