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Wakanda not forever: U.S. drops fictional country from list of trading partners

Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2019. 2:23 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The United States of America trades with nearly every country in the world and it can all be difficult to keep up with.

However, the fictional Kingdom of Wakanda somehow slipped into that list as a free trade partner – at least until Wednesday, when it was removed from the Agricultural Tariff Tracker on the website of the Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Fans of the Marvel Comics cinematic universe will recognize it as the East African home country of superhero Black Panther, brought to life in the Fantastic Four comic series in 1966 and to film in 2018.

The department’s online tariff tracker hosted a detailed list of goods the two nations apparently traded, including ducks, donkeys, and dairy cows, reports the BBC – but not anymore.

After the listing was removed, a USDA spokesman told the Washington Post that Wakanda’s listing was added as a test file for staff, and was never supposed to be public.

“The Wakanda information should have been removed after testing and has now been taken down,” he said.

That didn’t stop wags from joking about another trade war, one asking, “…where are things at on negotiations with Agrabah (the home of Disney’s Aladdin)?”

The unusual listing was spotted by Francis Tseng, a New York-based software engineer who was looking up agricultural tariffs for a fellowship he was applying for.

Belize counts the U.S. as among its top three trading partners: in November, some $6.2 million of goods was exported, mostly sugar, according to the Statistical Institute of Belize.

Certainly better than Wakanda’s total of zero, we suspect.

 

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