Countering Americas Adversaries Through Sanctions Act [CAATSA]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 29, 2022, 8:45

The U.S. Congress passed the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on August 02 2017, to impose sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. The law aims to punish Moscow for its alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election and actions in Ukraine.

CAATSA - Overview

The CAATSA is a United States federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia within 180 days of passage. It was passed by the 115th United States Congress and signed by President Donald Trump. It required the President to impose sanctions against Iran's ballistic missile program, those who conduct cyber-attacks on behalf of the Russian government, and those who do business with specific Russian defence and intelligence sectors. The bill also codified existing sanctions against North Korea before imposing new ones.

Components of CAATSA

The bill has the following components:

  • It requires the secretary of state to present Congress with a list of Russian political figures and oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin's regime and an assessment of their net worth and estimated wealth derived from or via Putin himself.
  • It codifies existing executive orders banning various kinds of activities involving Russia into law so that a new president cannot lift them without Congressional approval.
  • It imposes new economic sanctions on Russia for its actions in Crimea (annexation), Ukraine (invasion), and Syria.
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Significance of CAATSA

The United States is committed to imposing consequences on those who aid and abet the Kremlin's malign activities. The Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) has been the most powerful tool. In response to Russia's continued aggression, the significant sanctions under CAATSA, including Russian arms dealers and financial entities supporting the Kremlin's destabilizing actions.

Expanding these sanctions to include more Russian financial institutions and substantial foreign currency reserves. The U.S. is also targeting businesses that provide services or support to Russia's crude oil projects and pipeline construction worldwide – including a crucial Russian project that funds the Kremlin's malign activity.

These actions will increase Russia's political isolation and further undermine its ability to carry out malign activities worldwide. The U.S. will continue to use CAATSA and other authorities to counter attempts by Russia to circumvent our sanctions and pose a threat to U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.

Impact of CAATSA on India

CAATSA has no direct impact on India's defence cooperation with Russia. It is a U.S. law and not international law or treaty like Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), or Wassenaar Arrangement binds other countries to follow them.

CAATSA may lead to curtailment of the military-to-military relationship between India and Russia. India said it was not worried about CAATSA sanctions as they would not impact its defence acquisition plans.

CAATSA has undoubtedly caused some headaches for Russia, Iran, and North Korea, but perhaps this will lead to an era of renewed negotiation. In any case, these sanctions have indeed affected the countries already targeted. It'll be interesting to watch how the principles outlined in CAATSA take shape (and affect U.S. policy) going forward.

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FAQs on CAATSA

Q.1. What does the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act entail?

CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) sanctions countries that don't comply with America. Specifically, the law "imposes mandatory sanctions on persons engaging in a significant transaction with a person of, or operates for or on behalf of, the defence or intelligence sectors of the Government of the Russian Federation."

Q.2. When did the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act come into effect?

The Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act was enforced on August 02, 2017.

Q.3. What does the acronym CAATSA stand for?

CAATSA stands for Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.

Q.4. How can the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) prove impactful?

CAATSA is a powerful tool, giving the United States enormous leverage. It's time to use it. Failure to do so will be met with regret and missed opportunities. Using CAATSA in conjunction with sanctions on Russian sovereign debt, America can pressure Russia into implementing damaging limitations on its military capabilities. But if this happens, investments in Russia will only diminish further, as will Russia's power on the world stage. With CAATSA at hand, Washington has a chance to win beyond all measures.