Wakanda Forever: US lists and removes fictional country as free trade partner
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has removed the fictional country of Wakanda from an online list of nations that have free trade agreements with the United States on Thursday.
The department’s online tariff tracker hosted a detailed list of goods the two nations apparently traded, including ducks, donkeys and dairy cows.
In the Marvel universe, Wakanda is a fictional East African country in the Hollywood, Black Panther, which stars Kenyan Oscar-award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o.
The fictional country was removed soon from the list after US media first queried it, prompting jokes that the countries had started a trade war.
Wakanda first appeared in the Fantastic Four comic in 1966, and made a reappearance when Black Panther was adapted into an Oscar-winning film last year.
Wakanda was added to the list where it appeared alongside partners like Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru – sometime between June 10, when an archived version of the tracker’s website omits the fictional country, and this week, when a reporter at NBC News first queried the agency about it.
Francis Tseng, a New York-based software engineer who was looking for data on US agricultural tariffs for a fellowship he is pursuing, first noticed the listing for Wakanda on the US tariff list and called it out on Twitter.
A spokesman told The Washington Post that the inclusion of the mythical African nation from the universe of Marvel superheroes was a mistake made as part of a test officials were running.
Before it was removed, Tseng managed to download an Excel sheet listing “Harmonized Schedule” tariff codes for various categories of goods traded between Wakanda and the US including live animals, dairy goods, tobacco and alcohol.