U.S. officials hilariously failed in a recent list of free trade partners of the United States. NBC News discovered that the government was listing the fictional country of Wakanda from Marvel’s Black Panther as a free trade agreement partner on the website maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
The USDA simply chalked the error up to simple oversight.
“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,” a U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman said in a statement. “The Wakanda information should have been removed after testing and has now been taken down.”
However, the NBC News report shows that hundreds of entries were made under Wakanda on the website.
From the report:
Wakanda was listed as a U.S. free trade partner on the USDA website.
It was removed just hours ago. pic.twitter.com/cuIOHyXKyS
— UberFacts (@UberFacts) December 19, 2019
Different commodity groups offered on drop-down menus range from fresh vegetables and unroasted coffee beans to essential oils and livestock. Each commodity group had separate entries that provide details on the tariffs for each product. Yellow potatoes had to maintain a “0.5 cent/kg” base rate when shipped in from the fictional East African nation, while frozen Chinese water chestnuts were tariff free if the U.S. decided to import them from Wakanda. Cows were also tariff free.
Who knew that Wakanda was a hub for yellow potatoes and Chinese water chestnuts? You learn something new every day, and it’s clear that the Marvel Cinematic Universe was keeping us in the dark about the growing crop industry in Wakanda.
Wakanda has been on the list of free trade agreement partners since June, according to the NBC News findings.
One final note: let’s use this as a reminder to all web developers that you should double-check your work — especially if you’re working for the United States government and compiling a list of partners.