Following is the full text (English only) of the speech by the Secretary for Trade and Industry, Mr CHAU Tak Hay at the HKQAA 10th Anniversary Cocktail Celebration Party today (Friday):
Dr Ng, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to be able to join you today to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency. The HKQAA story is a good example of the role of the Government can play as a promoter and facilitator in increasing Hong Kong's competitiveness.
A decade ago, the concept of quality assurance and terms such as ISO 9000 had yet to take root in Hong Kong. Recognising the importance of quality assurance in an increasingly competitive environment, the Government launched an extensive quality awareness campaign in 1989 to encourage industry to adopt quality management systems. In those days there was no certification organisation in Hong Kong which could provide manufacturers with the ISO 9000 certification they required to facilitate acceptance of their products overseas. The HKQAA was therefore set up as one of the major initiatives of our quality awareness campaign.
We can be justly proud of our efforts and achievements in the past ten years. With the hard work of its successive Chairmen, Governing Councils and its staff, the HKQAA has firmly established itself as a reputable certification body. As the demand for ISO 9000 certification increased, certification became a viable business. More and more certification bodies were established in Hong Kong. In 1994, the HKQAA entered a new phase in its development and demonstrated its success by becoming financially independent. The Government was therefore able to step back from the day-to-day running of the HKQAA.
However, the Government has not been idle. The arrival of more certification bodies gave rise to the need for a system of accreditation for these bodies. The Government therefore founded the Hong Kong Certification Body Accreditation Scheme in 1998. The aim of the Scheme is to enhance confidence in the capability and integrity of Hong Kong's certification bodies. In doing so we can instill confidence in the quality of the products and services certified by these certification bodies.
This accreditation scheme and the long-established Laboratories Accreditation Scheme were brought under the umbrella of a new unified Hong Kong Accreditation Service in 1998. The Service seeks to operate its accreditation programmes in accordance with the latest international standards. It will participate actively in international and regional co-operation forums, and join in global efforts to promote the convergence and mutual recognition of international standards in accreditation.
I am glad that the HKQAA was the first organisation to be accredited by Hong Kong Accreditation Service. It is also encouraging to know that many other certification bodies are now applying for accreditation.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the HKQAA for its achievements in the past 10 years and to wish the HKQAA every success in the future.
End/Friday, September 17, 1999