“We’ve said that we will sanction any sanctionable behavior and we mean it,” Pompeo said at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Florida.
The company’s main office in Beijing did not answer several calls from CNN Business on Tuesday.
Zhuhai Zhenrong, which was established in 1994, is one of four licensed state importers of crude oil in China. The country is one of Iran’s largest oil buyers: In 2018, China imported 29.27 million metric tons of crude from Iran, according to data from China’s Ministry of Commerce.
The United States has sanctioned Zhuhai Zhenrong before for trading with Iran. In 2012, the Obama administration prevented the company from receiving US export licenses, financing from the US Export Import Bank, or any loans over $10 million from US financial institutions.
Back then, Zhuhai Zhenrong said it would continue to import crude from Iran, and that the sanctions would not affect it because it had little business with any US firm, according to a report by state media China News Service published at the time.
But Pompeo’s announcement doesn’t help matters between the United States and China, either.
Details about the next round of face-to-face meetings between senior trade representatives have yet to be announced.
CNN’s Mike Callahan and Rishi Iyengar contributed to this report.