Canada producers turn to Gordon Ritchie

Was negotiator during 1997 NAFTA talks

TORONTO -- Canadian indie producers on Wednesday hired Gordon Ritchie, who negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement for Canada, to help hammer out a new deal with domestic broadcasters.

Ritchie, who was a deputy chief negotiator during the 1997 NAFTA talks and is currently chairman of public affairs at Hill & Knowlton Canada, will spearhead contentious terms-of-trade talks with broadcasters that value program rights, including new media product.

The talks between the Canadian Film and Television Production Assn., which represents indie producers, and private broadcasters and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. are slated to begin next week.