Until yesterday, if you happened to be looking up agricultural tariffs on the official USDA website, as one does, you’d find Wakanda listed right under Peru on the drop-down menu of countries to choose from. As in Wakanda, the fictional sub-Saharan African country best known as the home of Black Panther.
A fellow at the Jain Family Institute, noticed its presence and tweeted out a screenshot that morning. It was seemingly this tweet, which currently has over 14,000 likes, that led who we can only assume is a party-pooper bureaucrat to remove Wakanda from the Agricultural Tariff Tracker on Wednesday afternoon.
Wakanda is listed as a US free trade partner on the USDA website?? pic.twitter.com/xcq1OFTIPh
— Francis Tseng (@frnsys) December 18, 2019
“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.”
This statement could be accurate, but it’s also totally what you’d tell the media if you’d accidentally revealed that the United States government was involved in a conspiracy to keep a technologically advanced state full of superheroes.
For what it’s worth, Wakanda had several commodity groups listed. Yellow potatoes had to maintain a half-cent per kilogram base rate, while cows and frozen Chinese water chestnuts were tariff-free. Vibranium wasn’t listed, but then again the powerful metal isn’t exactly an agricultural product.
But while Wakanda may have been banished under suspicious circumstances from this particular website, in our hearts it’s still Wakanda forever.