The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board continues to encounter resistance in inspecting foreign accounting firms that audit the books of non-U.S. companies whose stock trades on U.S. exchanges.

The PCAOB has published a list of over 400 non-U.S. companies whose securities trade in U.S. markets, but whose PCAOB-registered auditors the board currently cannot inspect because of asserted non-U.S. legal obstacles. The auditors of the companies on the list are located in China, Hong Kong, Switzerland and 18 European Union countries.

The companies include telecom giant Alcatel Lucent which is audited by both Deloitte and Ernst & Young in France, and British Sky Broadcasting, which is audited by Deloitte in the U.K.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires auditors to be registered with, and regularly inspected by, the PCAOB if they audit the financial statements that issuers file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. To date, the PCAOB has conducted more than 1,300 inspections of registered firms in the United States and 33 non-U.S. jurisdictions.

The PCAOB said it continues to work to eliminate obstacles to inspections in these jurisdictions.

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