SCED's speech at opening ceremony cum seminar of Pacific Accreditation Cooperation Plenary Meetings 2012 (English only)
Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the opening ceremony cum seminar of the Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC) Plenary Meetings 2012 today (June 18):
Chairman Iguchi, PAC delegates, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to welcome the accreditors in the Asia-Pacific Region to Hong Kong for the 2012 plenary meetings of the Pacific Accreditation Cooperation. I also welcome the local delegates to today's seminar.
Importance of testing and certification
Testing and certification is essential to modern society. As our standard of living improves and the sophistication of the products and services increases, we rely increasingly on testing and certification to confirm their safety and quality. For example, in addition to the ubiquitous ISO 9001 certification for management systems, local demands for certification for environmental friendliness, information security, Chinese medicines, building materials and energy efficiency are fast increasing. Today, our guest speakers will share their experience in these emerging areas.
Hong Kong as a testing and certification hub of the region
Hong Kong is an international trading and financial centre strategically located in the manufacturing centre of Southern China. Coupled with its first-class infrastructure, simple and low tax regime, adaptable workforce and international outlook, Hong Kong is the ideal testing and certification hub in the region. Many international testing and certification organisations have substantial presence here. Some of them have set up their R&D centre or technical services advisory centre here to support their global operation. Hong Kong is also a leader in toys and textiles and garments testing. Testing in these two fields accounts for 50 per cent of Hong Kong's testing business and it provides crucial support for our international trade.
Hong Kong Accreditation Service (HKAS)
Ronald Reagan had a famous signature phrase, "Trust, but verify". We trust testing and certification results as basis for our key decisions. It is therefore important that testing results are verified to conform to the highest standards. I am happy to tell you that we do have a very reliable gatekeeper in Hong Kong - the Hong Kong Accreditation Service, the government accreditation body under the Innovation and Technology Commission of the Hong Kong SAR Government.
HKAS provides accreditation to certification bodies, inspection bodies, proficiency testing providers, reference material producers, as well as laboratories with an impressive range of testing and certification activities. Recently, the Government has allocated additional resources to enhance the service provided by HKAS. In the past two years, we have launched accreditation services in seven new fields, including forensic science testing, proficiency testing providers and reference materials producers.
We have set up the Accreditation Advisory Board to advise on all aspects of the operation of HKAS. It is now under the Chairmanship of Professor Kwan Hoi-shan. Nineteen working parties and 20 task forces consisting of top-level experts and stakeholders have been set up to work on individual technical fields. HKAS spares no effort in reaching nothing but the highest level of quality and credibility in all aspects of its operation. Its assessors and staff are highly qualified and well trained. Its accreditation criteria and operation procedures are based on the highest international standards and the best international practice.
HKAS is also very active in supporting international and regional accreditation activities. Accreditations provided by HKAS are recognised by 86 accreditation bodies in 70 economies.
Promotion of testing and certification as a new pillar industry
The Hong Kong SAR Government identified testing and certification in 2009 as one of the six industries where Hong Kong enjoys clear advantages with great potential for further development. In the same year, the Hong Kong Council for Testing and Certification was established to spearhead its development (towards the vision of "Tested in Hong Kong, Certified in Hong Kong". The Council has since completed a comprehensive study report of the industry and decided to adopt a dual approach to promote its development - making improvements to the accreditation service and factors of production whilst putting focused effort in specific trades. Six trades, including Chinese medicine, construction materials, food, jewellery, environmental protection and information and communication technologies, have been selected for focused development. The Chairman of the Council, Professor P C Ching, will share with you later on the latest developments of the industry today.
Ladies and gentlemen, I believe work and fun must go hand in hand. So don't forget to take some time out of your busy schedule to explore Hong Kong, a melting pot of Western and Eastern cultures. Our great dining experiences, shopping and vibrant nightlife await you. For those who prefer the outdoors, taking a hike in our country parks will reward you with Hong Kong's unsurpassed natural beauty.
I wish you a most successful seminar and enjoyable stay in Hong Kong. Thank you.
Monday, June 18, 2012