'Black Panther' Nation of Wakanda Made USDA Foreign Trading List by Accident
The option to select the fictional country has since been removed.
The fictional nation of Wakanda was recently spotted as a trading partner on the official website of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service.
The kingdom of Wakanda, best known for its appearance in the Marvel universe as the home of “Black Panther,” was quickly removed on Wednesday as an American free trade partner once the listing was noticed.
The USDA said they had used Wakanda when they were testing its Agricultural Tariff Tracker and that the fictional country is not an actual free trade partner.
"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, told NBC News. "The Wakanda information should have been removed after testing and has now been taken down."
It’s estimated that Wakanda had been listed as a partner on the USDA website sometime after June 10 until it was spotted on Wednesday by Francis Tseng, a fellow at the Jain Family Institute. He was researching trade deals on the website when he came across the unexpected partner. “I definitely did a double take,” Tseng told NBC News. “I Googled Wakanda to make sure it was actually fiction, and I wasn’t misremembering.”
Tseng found that Wakanda was trading items like vegetables, unroasted coffee beans and “live asses.”
However, Wakandan Vibranium, the unique metal that makes up Black Panther’s suit, was not listed among the goods — and any Marvel fan would know that selling small amounts of the metal is how the kingdom funded its high-tech infrastructure.
This isn’t the first time superheroes have made their way into U.S. political documentation. Earlier this year, Jack Napier, Edward Nigma, Otto Octavius and Norman Osborn — better known by the names the Joker, the Riddler, Doctor Octopus and the Green Goblin — appeared on a lobbying registration form for the U.S. House of Representatives during testing.
Apparently, the four were working on renewable energy.