US sanctions against Iran affect firms outside US

February 14, 2014 - 9:14:54 am

Daniel E Waltz, partner from Patton Boggs, speaking at the  ‘Distinguished Speaker Series’ hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar.

BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB

DOHA: The US-led economic sanctions against Iran are not only adversely affecting American companies but also having profound impact on foreign firms involved in specified categories of Iran-related transactions as a result of “secondary sanctions”, says a law expert, specialising in international trade and finance.

“The US sanctions targeting Iran have become extremely complicated, and have focused increasingly on non-US companies creating an environment which is difficult for these companies to navigate”, said Daniel E Waltz, Partner from Patton Boggs, a leading US-based law firm which provides legal and policy advice on corporate and strategic issues.

Waltz was speaking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of the ‘Distinguished Speaker Series’ hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar (AmCham Qatar).

He was here to give a presentation on ‘the potential impacts of US economic sanctions on companies operating outside the US’.

Commenting on the deep and pervasive impact of the crippling US sanctions against Iran, he said: “The sanctions against Iran are not only affecting the US companies but also having profound impact on other companies which are not directly related to the US or Iran.”

He also said that usually unilateral sanctions tend to be ineffective, but the US has developed sufficient support among like-minded countries to create a multilateral regime which is actually having impact.

On the scope of the interim agreement reached in November between the P5+1 and Iran, which was implemented on January 20, Waltz said: “Many believe that this might mark the opening of the Iranian market, but the sanctions relief it offers is actually quite limited.”

“The US administration says that the negotiation for a permanent agreement (with Iran) would be much more challenging than the interim agreement. So given the significant level of difficulties, there is a high risk of failing to reach an agreement,” said he.

Following opening remarks by Patton Boggs Doha Office Managing Partner, Susan Bastress, Waltz gave a brief background on the history of US sanctions on Iran and what is permissible under the sanctions.

He also explained the state of sanctions in 2006, and highlighted what are known as ‘secondary sanctions’ which target Iran indirectly by threatening the imposition of sanctions against foreign companies. Bastress said: “We are pleased to have had Waltz present today, and are grateful to AmCham for providing us with the opportunity to present our expertise on key topics of interest.”

AmCham Qatar is the first foreign industry representative body established in Qatar. It hosts regular events for AmCham Qatar members and members of the wider business community.

Patton Boggs has been active in Qatar since 1993 and became the first US law firm licensed to practice in the country in 2003 when the Father Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani invited the firm to open an office in Doha. It provides legal services in a number of practice areas, including business law, corporate finance, government contracts and international trade and transactions.

The Peninsula

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