Merck & Co., Inc. v. United States
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
499 F.3d 1348 (2007)
In 1993, Merck & Company, Inc. (Merck) (plaintiff) imported 35 kilograms of the pharmaceutical famotidine from Ireland, paying an import duty of 6.9 percent. In 1995, Merck imported 1,195 kilograms of famotidine, this time duty-free due to an existing trade agreement. That same year, from the 1,195 kilograms of duty-free famotidine it previously purchased, Merck exported 35 kilograms to Mexico and Canada. Merck sought a drawback under 19 U.S.C. § 1313(j)(2), which allowed exporters to obtain a refund for duties paid for imported goods if fungible goods were then exported. Because Merck exported the famotidine to Mexico and Canada, members to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), United States Customs and Border Patrol (customs) (defendant) denied the drawback claim pursuant to § 1313(j)(4)(A). Merck challenged customs’ denial, arguing that the exported famotidine qualified for drawback under 19 U.S.C. § 3333(a), which allowed drawback claims for goods exported to NAFTA countries if the goods were exported in the same condition as when imported. Customs argued that drawbacks under § 3333(a) applied only to exportations of the imported good for which duties were paid, not for a substituted fungible good. The United States Court of International Trade agreed with customs, and Merck appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Lourie, J.)
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