During a roughly 20-minute call with reporters Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin mentioned the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign on Iran six times. China was not mentioned once.
This is telling, analysts believe, as the administration wants to push Iranian crude oil exports to zero, but has no clear plan for how to prevent China, Iran's top oil trading partner, from importing even more Iranian crude when sanctions snap back into place Monday.
"It's hard to imagine that the Chinese will be willing to accept sanctions," Amos Hochstein, a former special envoy for international energy affairs in the Obama administration, said in an interview with the Platts Capitol Crude podcast. "Iran will continue to export to China."
Hochstein, now a senior vice president with Tellurian, called China "too big to fail" on sanctions, with global buying power and a state-backed financial institution, the Bank of Kunlun, where oil payments may evade US sanctions reach.
Read the full article and more on S&P Global Platts.