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NASD Unveils Plans to Open Shanghai Office


NEW YORK — The National Assn. of Securities Dealers chose Tuesday's visit by Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji to announce plans to open a Shanghai office and to begin trading the stock of six mainland China companies on Nasdaq.

The move comes despite China's failure last week to secure U.S. backing for its long-sought membership in the World Trade Organization.

One of the sticking points in the negotiations that collapsed Thursday was a U.S. demand that China increase foreign access to its banking and securities markets.

NASD Chairman Frank G. Zarb said he and Zhu discussed creating a venture capital pool in China as a means of financing the growth of promising companies.

The Shanghai office, tentatively planned to open in early to mid-2000, would be a base from which the NASD could provide Chinese officials with information on finance and market regulation.

As Zarb envisions it, the office would also eventually become a Nasdaq trading site.

The six Chinese stocks--still unidentified--would be the first such securities to trade directly on Nasdaq, although there are currently 19 Nasdaq-listed firms that have mainland operations but are officially based in Hong Kong or elsewhere.

Nine mainland China stocks are already listed on the New York Stock Exchange, including China Southern Airlines Corp., Huaneng Power International Inc. and Yanzhou Coal Mining Co.

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