By  on June 4, 2013

WASHINGTON — The group of North American retailers led by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Gap Inc. that has come under fire from labor and human rights groups for refusing to join a legally binding Bangladesh fire and building safety accord is set to defend its own developing plan before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday.

Johan Lubbe, an expert on international trade law, who is advising key North American industry groups, plans to defend the new plan, explain why many U.S. companies refuse to sign the legally binding international accord and stress the need for shared responsibility at the hearing, according to a draft of his testimony obtained by WWD. A link to the draft testimony was included in an internal memo on the letterhead of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, seeking feedback from its members about the testimony. The internal memo was signed by Stephanie Lester, vice president of international trade at RILA.

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