White House Watch

US Quietly Sanctions Chinese Companies As Pelosi Lands In Taiwan


The U.S. State and Treasury Departments announced sanctions of four Hong Kong-based companies Monday for their alleged sale or transport of Iranian oil less than a day before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Pelosi arrived Tuesday morning in Taiwan, despite significant pressure on President Joe Biden from China to stop the trip. The announcements from the State Department and Treasury Department declined to mention the national origins of three Hong Kong-based sanctions targets.

Four Hong Kong-based companies were named, alongside one from Singapore and one from the United Arab Emirates, according to Reuters. The only Hong Kong-based company whose origin was revealed was PZNFR Trading Limited, described solely in the Treasury Department’s release as “Hong Kong- and Malaysia-based.”

The sanctions “generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons” with affected entities, denying them access to the U.S. economy, according to the Treasury Department. The sanctions also affect any subsidiaries or “entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more,” by the targeted companies.

Biden spoke with Chinese President Xi Jingping in a lengthy phone call last Thursday, and stressed that the United States did not seek to upset the status quo regarding Taiwan, according to the Daily Caller.

In similar Iran-related sanctions from July 6, the Treasury Department specifically stated that Lustro Industry Limited was a “Hong Kong-based front company,” and specified the national origin of all other affected companies. The State Department’s related announcement specifically mentioned the fact that the Treasury Department was going to announce sanctions against “eight entities and two individuals located in Iran, Hong Kong, and the UAE.”

A June 16 set of Iran-related sanctions also made repeated reference to the national origin of affected companies and individuals, designating two such companies as “Hong Kong-based,” according to a Treasury Department press release. The related State Department press release specifically mentions “front companies in the People’s Republic of China.”

“The United States has been sincere in pursuing a path of meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in the State Department’s announcement, referring to the 2015 Iran deal. “Until Iran is ready to return to full implementation of the JCPOA, we will continue to use our sanctions authorities to target exports of petroleum, petroleum products, and petrochemical products from Iran.”

Neither the State Department nor the Treasury Department immediately responded to requests for comment by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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