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Mike Pompeo seeks CAATSA waiver to help countries like India: What is CAATSA?

By Shubham

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has requested the US Congress to grant the necessary waiver so that its sanctions imposed on Russia under the CAATSA law doesn't impact other countries that are not under its purview. He said it to ensure that America's allies like India were not affected by the law, especially in view of Russia's close military ties with India.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Now, what is CAATSA law and what it says?

The provisions of CAATSA or Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) is an American federal law which imposed sanctions on countries like Iran, North Korea and Russia and also features sanctions against those states that significantly engage with Russia in defence and intelligence.

Enacted in July 2017, The CAATSA law came into effect after US President Donald Trump signed the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which was passed with an overwhelming support in the Congress, on August 2.

Trump himself was not happy with the law saying it was "significantly flawed" and accused the Congress of including a number of unconstitutional provisions in a haste the pass the law. He had also asked the Congress not to use the law to hurt the USA's efforts to resolve the Ukrainian crisis with its European allies, reports said.

The Congress was frustrated with Trump's reluctance to act tough with Russia and the suspicion became stronger when the White House missed a crucial CAATSA deadline in October last year to name Russian defence and intelligence entities set to be slapped with new sanctions, a CNBC report said.

The three sections of the CAATSA law on Iran, North Korea and Russia are:

  • Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017
  • Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017 and
  • Korean Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act

As per experts, the Russia section of the CAATSA law broadens the scope of the US sanctions and requires review by both American and non-American companies.

The North Korea and Iran sections, on the other hand, do not materially affect US companies that face broad restrictions in those countries.

The North Korea section, however, includes additional secondary sanctions that create risks for non-American firms.

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