It's been a weird week in Washington, D.C., and nothing quite wraps it all up like a United States government official listing Wakanda — the fictional East African country which is home to Marvel's Black Panther — as a free trade partner with the U.S. on an online tool from U.S. Department of Agriculture to track tariffs, according to Slate.
The country was removed from the list, but not before Francis Tseng, a New York-based software engineer, spotted it while he was looking for fellowships, BBC News reported.
“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. I mean, I couldn’t believe it.”
"I was very confused at first and thought I misremembered the country from the movie and got it confused with something else," Tseng added to Reuters. He tweeted out a downloaded Excel sheet that listed all of the goods that Wakanda (read: fake country) trades with the U.S., including live animals, dairy goods, tobacco, and alcohol. "The U.S. would no doubt try to liberalize Wakanda's markets and flood it with cheap subsidized corn," Tseng tweeted. And once the U.S. took Wakanda off the list, Tseng tweeted: "Guess we’re in a trade war with them too."
According to NBC News, the USDA says it used Wakanda while testing the system and simply forgot to delete it.
"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 over email. "The Wakanda information should have been removed after testing and has now been taken down."