Having Donald Trump as a president, we are used to seeing things never done before, but listing Wakanda as a Free Trade Agreement Partner? Well, that’s another first for this presidency. According to The Grio, the United States Department of Agriculture, which initially listed the fictional country from Marvel’s Black Panther on their free trade agreement partners list, has taken Wakanda off the list.
The USDA claimed they had used Wakanda as a placeholder while testing their system behind the tracker and had inadvertently forgotten to remove the black superhero country. “Over the past few weeks, the Foreign Agricultural Service staff who maintain the Tariff Tracker have been using test files to ensure that the system is running properly,” Mike Illenberg, a USDA spokesman, said in an email to NBC News. “The Wakanda information should have been removed after testing and has now been taken down.”
The mistake was first noticed by Francis Tseng, a fellow at the Jain Family Institute, last week while researching how trade deals can affect food distribution in countries listed as U.S. trade partners. Under the Wakanda listing, the site stated that Wakanda’s exports to the U.S. included horses, sheep, goats, and turkeys. Tseng showed the glaring error on his Twitter account, “Wakanda is listed as a US free trade partner on the USDA website??”
“I definitely did a double-take,” he said. “I Googled Wakanda to make sure it was actually fiction, and I wasn’t misremembering. I mean, I couldn’t believe it.” Tseng told NBC News. According to the Internet Archive, Wakanda was listed as a free-trade country with the U.S. sometime after June 10 this year. “I was trying to figure out whether this is someone at the USDA making a joke or if it’s a developer who accidentally left it in, but I’m not sure.”
Wakanda was brought into popularity after the theatrical release of Black Panther in 2018 but has been mentioned as a fictional country as far back as July 1966 when it first appeared in the Marvel comic “Fantastic Four #52.”