President Trump’s trade war got more—or less—surreal this week when it was discovered the Trump administration listed Wakanda as a free trade partner on a tool created by the Department of Agriculture to track tariffs on nations signed on to a free trade agreement. Wakanda, of course, is not a real country but a fictional one in the Marvel Universe and its 2018 movie Black Panther. The made up East African kingdom was listed along with 10 real trade partners from the Americas and South Korea.
“There were hundreds of data inputs for Wakanda… Different commodity groups offered on drop-down menus range from fresh vegetables and unroasted coffee beans to essential oils and livestock,” NBC News reported before the Wakanda data was scrubbed from the site Wednesday. “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.”
The Trump administration, which has never been known for its attention to detail, chalked it up to a lack of attention to detail. “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 USDA spokesman said in a statement. “The Wakanda information should have been removed after testing and has now been taken down.”
Journalists found this amusing snafu very funny and made lots of journalist jokes on Twitter.
NBC News reports the Wakanda error appears to have been on the USDA site since June.