The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is making some progress in its efforts to inspect auditing firms in China.

PCAOB chairman James Doty was one of 19 U.S. delegates who traveled to Beijing last week as part of the fourth annual U.S-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

Doty said he was grateful to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Undersecretary Lael Brainard for the opportunity to take part in the dialogue, and for their strong support of the PCAOB’s mission, including the objective of cross-border audit oversight through joint inspections. He also thanked Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and our colleagues at the other participating agencies for their strong support as well.

“Separately, we met with the chairman of the CSRC [China Securities Regulatory Commission] and senior-level representatives of the MOF [Ministry of Finance] and had very substantive and productive discussions,” Doty said in a statement forwarded by the PCAOB. “Further progress was made that would enable the PCAOB to observe inspections conducted by the Chinese authorities as a first step toward greater cooperation on cross-border audit oversight and joint inspections. In the coming days, we will be following up on our discussions with the Chinese authorities to finalize the details.”

Doty told Floyd Norris of The New York Times that the PCAOB expects to be able to sit in on Chinese inspections of auditors by “the late summer or fall, and certainly by the end of the year.”

Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission, which appoints the members of the PCAOB, is cracking down on Deloitte’s member firm in Shanghai for declining to turn over audit work papers on China-based clients (see SEC Charges Deloitte with Refusing to Produce China Work Papers). Deloitte said it would violate Chinese laws if it turned over the documents to the SEC.

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