Following is a speech by the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Mr CHAU Tak Hay, at the Cocktail Reception in Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association Testing & Certification Laboratories today (Wednesday) :
Mr Liang, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to be invited here today to join you in celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Testing and Certification Laboratories of the Chinese Manufacturers' Association (CMA).
Twenty years ago, CMA Testing and Certification Laboratories started as a relatively small laboratory for testing toys and textiles. The company has since grown in size and standing. At present the company provides not only a wide range of consumer product testing services but also environmental testing services, inspection services and ISO 9000 consultancy services. It was one of the first in Hong Kong to recognise the benefits of accreditation and was accredited by the Hong Kong Laboratory Accreditation Scheme as early as 1987. Since then it has progressively expanded its scope of accreditation to meet the demands of the market. These are achievements that one should be justly proud of.
As our standards of living improve, both customers and regulatory authorities are increasingly demanding in respect of the quality and safety of products and services. This accounts for the steady increase in demand for accredited conformity assessment services in the world market in recent years. Accreditation based on international standards and transparent procedures not only provides assurance to customers, it also facilitates international trade. The mutual recognition of accreditation results of different economies breaks trade barriers and reduces cost of compliance for traders and consumers alike.
As a staunch believer in free trade, Hong Kong has supported actively the work of the World Trade Organisation, the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation as well as various international and regional co-operation fora to harmonise standards and procedures for conformity assessment. The Government is committed to keeping pace with the latest international developments and ensuring that each element of Hong Kong's conformity assessment infrastructure is up to international standards. The Hong Kong Laboratory Accreditation Scheme has already concluded a number of mutual recognition agreements with overseas accreditation schemes. These agreements facilitate the acceptance of test reports endorsed by our accreditation scheme in 24 economies, many of which are our major trading partners.
In November 1998, we established the Hong Kong Accreditation Service. The Service now runs the Hong Kong Laboratory Accreditation Scheme and the Hong Kong Certification Body Accreditation Scheme. It will soon launch an accreditation scheme for inspection bodies as well. These initiatives will further consolidate our position as a major provider of quality goods and services complying with stringent international standards.
Ladies and gentlemen, Hong Kong's strength has always been, and shall continue to be, our firm commitment to quality and standards. Over the years, the CMA Testing and Certification Laboratories have played a valuable role in fulfilling this commitment. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone at the company and the CMA for your success and achievements over the years. I extend my warmest wish that your excellent work will go from strength to strength in the next century.
END/Wednesday, September 15, 1999