USDA lists Wakanda, fictional home of ‘Black Panther,’ as free trade partner on tariff tracker

Wakanda, the fictional country from Marvel’s popular movie “Black Panther,” was temporarily listed as a free trade agreement partner of the United States in an online tariff tracker.

The Agricultural Tariff Tracker, maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, had “Wakanda” on the list until Wednesday afternoon.

A research fellow using the tracker noticed that the fake nation was listed, along with Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru, according to NBC News.

“I definitely did a double take,” Francis Tseng, a fellow at the Jain Family Institute, told the network. “I Googled Wakanda to make sure it was actually fiction, and I wasn’t misremembering. I mean, I couldn’t believe it.”

Furthermore, Tseng noticed there were several data inputs for Wakanda, including livestock.

The USDA said in a statement that staff used Wakanda as a test for the tracker and forgot to remove it.

“The Foreign Agricultural Service staff who maintain the Tariff Tracker have been using test files to ensure that the system is running properly,” USDA spokesman Mike Illenberg said in an email. “The Wakanda information should have been removed after testing and has now been taken down.”

The Oscar-winning "Black Panther," released in February 2018, became a cultural phenomenon and earned more than $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office.


Wakanda is the fictional home superhero Black Panther or T'Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, in the Marvel movie "Black Panther." (Photo credit: Marvel Studios)

Similarly, a lobbying registration form that appeared in a House of Representatives database earlier this year listed four comic-book villains as lobbyists working on renewable energy issues, according to Market Watch.

This story was reported from Cincinnati.