Fictional Wakanda mistakenly listed as U.S. free-trade partner
WASHINGTON, USA – Cattle and water chestnuts as of Wednesday, December 18, enjoyed duty-free trade between the United States and the fictional African nation of Wakanda, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
But the world's most technologically advanced country – and home of the Marvel Comics hero Black Panther – has since been removed from an internet tariff tracker maintained by the US Department of Agriculture.
The agency said Thursday, December 19, it had listed Wakanda as a free-trade partner during testing by its Foreign Agricultural Service and mistakenly allowed the listing to go live on the internet.
"The Foreign Agricultural Service staff who maintain the Tariff Tracker have been using test files to ensure that the system is running properly," a spokesman said.
"The Wakanda information should have been removed after testing and has now been taken down."
Since President Donald Trump took office in 2017, Washington has aggressively confronted trade partners around the world, raising tariffs and rattling the prevailing global trade order.
Wakanda's presence on the website briefly prompted ironic speculation that the reclusive but imaginary country could be Trump's next target.
According to NBC News, Francis Tseng, a fellow at the Jain Family Institute in New York, spotted hundreds of inputs on Wakanda while researching tariffs on food.
Yellow potatoes from Wakanda, for example, were charged a 0.5 cent per kilogram (0.23 cents per pound) duty rate on arrival in the United States.
There was no tariff listing for vibranium, a fictional metal with extraordinary properties that are the source of Wakanda's technological dominance and self-sufficiency. – Rappler.com