Canada’s Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food, Gerry Ritz, came south on Monday to warn about a “thickening” of the U.S.-Canadian border because of country-of-origin labeling (COOL), while also saying he thinks Congress may soon scrap the controversial law. Ritz, who spoke to the North American Meat Association Forum in Chicago, warned that Canada will have to seek retaliatory tariffs for everything from beef and pork to California wines and sugar products if COOL isn’t changed or eliminated. His remarks were the first to an American audience since Tyson announced it would no longer take Canadian cattle for processing because of the country-of-origin labeling regulations imposed by USDA. USDA changed those regulations after the World Trade Organization found that earlier versions were inconsistent with U.S. treaty obligations. If U.S country-of-origin labeling requirements continue to violate trade agreements, both Canada and Mexico might be eligible to impose retaliatory tariffs. Ritz says there is going to be “hurt” on both sides of the border. For Canada, 70 percent of its meat is processed in the U.S., and that work in turn accounts for 9,000 American jobs. The minister says this has caused the ground to shift, with more than 100 senators and representatives in the U.S. Congress coming around to see the issue from Canada’s perspective. The still-unfinished Farm Bill might become the vehicle to put U.S.-Canadian agricultural trade back on track. A House-Senate conference committee might complete that work by Christmas. It would be ironic, however, because the COOL law grew out of an earlier Farm Bill, which are the multi-year measures which set overall food and agricultural policy.