U.S. Government Briefly Listed Black Panther's Fictional Nation of Wakanda as a Trade Partner
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has since removed Wakanda from its listing
The United States Department of Agriculture has removed the fictional country of Wakanda from its website after briefly listing it as a free trade agreement partner.
According to NBC News, Wakanda — the fictional land featured in the 2018 Marvel film Black Panther — was listed on the digital Agricultural Tariff Tracker maintained by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service until Wednesday afternoon. The listing was first spotted by Twitter user Francis Tseng.
A USDA spokesperson told PEOPLE that Wakanda was added during a system test and should have been deleted afterward.
“The Foreign Agricultural Service staff who maintain the Tariff Tracker have been using test files to ensure that the system is running properly,” the spokesperson said. “The Wakanda information should have been removed after testing and has now been taken down.”
“I definitely did a double-take,” Tseng, a fellow at the Jain Family Institute, told NBC News of seeing the listing. “I googled Wakanda to make sure it was actually fiction, and I wasn’t misremembering. I mean, I couldn’t believe it.”
According to NBC News, not only was Wakanda listed on the website, but there were hundreds of data inputs for the fictional country — including details on tariffs for fresh vegetables, unroasted coffee beans, essential oils and livestock.
The outlet reports that Wakanda first appeared in a 1966 Marvel comic. The country was also the setting for much of Black Panther, which went on to make history as the first superhero movie nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.
Black Panther 2 is slated for release in May 2022.