US Lists Fictional Nation Of Wakanda As Trade Partner

The United States trades with a lot of countries. It's the nature of the world. One country that it doesn't do trade with, though, is Wakanda ... because, you know, that particular futuristic, utopian nation (supposedly) doesn't exist in real life, unless you're a resident of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Or wait, maybe that's just what Wakanda wants you to think? This was the question raised on December 18th, 2019, when Frank Tseng, a New York software engineer looking up agricultural tariffs, tweeted his amazing discovery that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) listed Wakanda as a nation which they did trade with, alongside real nations like Peru and Nicaragua. Whoa! Lest you go wondering what sort of goods the U.S. and Wakanda trade, the Washington Post explains that website apparently listed such mundane items as cows, ducks, essential oils, unroasted coffee beans, and yellow potatoes instead of the vibranium that you might be hoping for. Bummer. At least the potatoes might be a good idea, considering the impending U.S. french fry shortage

As soon as this news hit, every Marvel fan in the world got excited. Who wouldn't? Considering that the world is now threatened by climate change, growing income inequality, and insane political polarization, could there ever be a better time in history for the nation of T'Challa, Okoye, and Shuri to become real, show everybody how it's done, and save the day? 

If only Wakanda was a real country ...

The BBC reports that, as soon as the USDA was made aware of this error, Wakanda was removed from the website, prompting much online "speculation" (you know, of the humorous sort) that the U.S. and Wakanda had become embroiled in a trade war ... which would be a thoroughly dumb decision on the part of the U.S., if you know anything about Wakanda.

Unfortunately, as you've probably guessed, this was all a big accident. After removing the listing, the USDA told the press that Wakanda's information had been plugged into the database merely as a test file for their staff, and was supposed to have been deleted once testing was complete. Oops. While the USDA responded to all these shenanigans in a rather humorous fashion, at least one reporter, Christopher Heath of Orlando, got a good ribbing in, when he followed up a question regarding the alleged trade agreements with Wakanda by asking, "Also where are things at on negotiations with Agrabah?" This latter reference was, most likely, a callback to the infamous 2015 poll, described by Snopes, which uncovered the fact that a shocking number of U.S. citizens are all for bombing the fictional nation of Disney's Aladdin. Yeah, that was a weird moment.

Anyhow, while it's disappointing that Wakanda isn't a real place, it's also good that the U.S. isn't going into a trade war with them, because that's one (of many) battles that the Black Panther would definitely win