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Speech by SCED at 50th anniversary gala luncheon of SGS Hong Kong Ltd (English only)

     Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau, at the 50th anniversary gala luncheon of the SGS Hong Kong Ltd today (September 28) :

Mr Christopher Kirk, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentleman,

     Good afternoon. It is my great pleasure to join you to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of SGS Hong Kong Ltd. I congratulate SGS Hong Kong Ltd on their success over so many years.

     In 1959, when SGS started its business in Hong Kong, our export oriented manufacturing was about to enter into a period of phenomenal expansion. Availability of reputable testing services in Hong Kong was a major step to provide our manufacturers ready access to third party confirmation that their products conformed to regulatory and commercial requirements. This helped them reach the market quickly while avoiding the high costs associated with testing the products in the importing countries. This undoubtedly helped facilitate the rapid growth of Hong Kong's economy that took place from about that time.  

     The following decades saw the diversification of our products and the significant improvement in the quality of our manufacturing industry - from producing textiles and garments, plastic flowers and toys to the introduction of technologically advanced electronic and mechanical equipment and other higher value products. The testing and certification industry has been playing an essential role in this development and has indeed seen its own prosperity develop in tandem, to the point where today this is one of the strongest emerging sectors, with companies in Hong Kong able to provide the independent and reliable service trusted by overseas governments and buyers.

     For more than 20 years, since the early 1980s, the Hong Kong Government has recognised that the credibility of our testing and certification service is crucial to the growth of the economy. To support the industry, we began to provide accreditation service to laboratories in 1985. I am delighted to say that SGS Hong Kong Ltd was one of the first accredited laboratories. The accreditation service was subsequently extended to certification and inspection through the establishment of the Hong Kong Accreditation Service in 1998. The extensive mutual recognition arrangements concluded by the Service with accreditation bodies in other economies has enhanced the global acceptance of testing and certification results issued by accredited organisations in Hong Kong - a concrete result from the Government's concerted efforts to support the industry here.

     Our economy has come a long way since the 1950s. From a fishing village, to an entrepot and now a highly regarded and rated the freest economy in the world and a very good place to do business in. While in the 1960s, the term "Made in Hong Kong" was a symbol for quality products at affordable price, it is now superseded by "Made by Hong Kong", a term synonymous with credible and high value adding services. To support the more sophisticated demand of a service economy, the local testing and certification industry has also upgraded its capabilities. In addition to providing a wider range of testing services to confirm the quality of individual products, our testing and certification industry is now providing a wide range of certification and accreditation services. These include certification for quality management system, products and environmental management system. At the same time, the testing and certification industry has also widened its customer base. Its service has been extended to support many other sectors of society, such as the food and beverage sector, environmental protection, and jewellery.  

     Throughout the many years of advancement, one thing remains unchanged. The industry continues to accord top priority to maintaining and enhancing its credibility. This is highly commendable as credibility is so hard to win and yet so easy to lose. Only by maintaining our reputation for quality and genuine products can Hong Kong continue to attract customers to use our services.

     Recognising the strong potential of the testing and certification industry, and the contribution of this industry to the development of other sectors, the HKSAR Government has recently stepped up our support to the industry. We have announced the setting up of the Hong Kong Council for Testing and Certification. It will be holding its inaugural meeting tomorrow. In the coming six months, members of the council will map out a three-year development blueprint for the industry. We will leverage the credibility associated with the term "Tested in Hong Kong" to take the industry to the next level of development.

     Let me end by saying that the Hong Kong Accreditation Service will continue to be the gatekeeper for the testing and certification industry. It will continue to uphold the highest standards of accreditation. It will extend its services to new areas as demanded by the industry and it will expand its mutual recognition arrangements to more countries to support the growth of the industry. We have successfully created the brandname of "Made by Hong Kong" worldwide. Let's work together and create another legend for the brandname of "Tested in Hong Kong".

     Once again, I would like to congratulate SGS Hong Kong Ltd and all its dedicated employees on their golden anniversary. I wish you all further success in the years to come.

     Thank you.

Ends/Monday, September 28, 2009
Issued at HKT 17:26


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