Kyrgyz businesses to benefit from international standards accreditation agreement

5 December 2013
ITC News

Businesses in the Kyrgyz Republic say that an agreement signed by the country’s national accreditation body will generate customer confidence, at home and abroad, in the competence and integrity of Kyrgyz laboratories. They say it will also reduce costs. Sectors including food products, medicines and medical products, raw materials for construction and building materials, and consumer goods are all expected to benefit from the agreement.

In October 2013, the Kyrgyz Center of Accreditation (KCA) of the Kyrgyz Republic became a signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA). KCA is now a full member of ILAC in terms of accreditation of testing laboratories for compliance with ISO/IEC 17025. To become a member, accredited conformity assessment bodies must meet the requirements of standards adopted by international standardization organizations.

The registry of the Kyrgyz national accreditation system currently includes 81 laboratories. Since 2006, the International Trade Centre (ITC) has provided technical support to KCA to achieve international recognition of its activities and of its accredited conformity assessment bodies. The support was part of the Trade Promotion in the Kyrgyz Republic Programme, funded by Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

ITC’s support included assisting KCA to develop a comprehensive set of manuals and procedures documents to satisfy the requirements of the ILAC. ITC also supported KCA through two peer evaluations, carried out by an ILAC evaluation team.

ILAC accreditation helps businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in decision making and risk management, allowing them to select competent suppliers of services that can save them both time and money. Ensuring that accurate measurements and tests meet international standards reduces the possibility of defects in products and demonstrates the quality and competitiveness of the goods produced. It also reduces business export costs as it removes the need for repeated tests in another country.

Elmira Ajibaeva from the Kyrgyz Petroleum Company said: ‘Users of laboratory services, like us, are mostly concerned with reliability and accuracy of test data. Accreditation may generate customer confidence in a laboratory’s competence and integrity. Accredited conformity assessment can be used to make efficient and informed choices about domestic suppliers and it promotes confidence in imports from other countries.’

Mr. C. Imankulov, Manager, Alex Stewart Assay and Environmental Laboratories, said: ‘Accreditation imposes discipline on management and therefore assures that the laboratory is being operated in a technically competent manner and that the data we produce is reliable. It also provides opportunities to improve performance and to gain insights into current developments in our field of work. For Kyrgyz laboratories, it will be more financially attractive to get accreditation through the Kyrgyz Center of Accreditation than through other foreign accreditation bodies.’

For consumers, accreditation guarantees relevant quality of conformity assessment services of products and services, and accuracy of measurements.

The ILAC Arrangement supports international trade by promoting international confidence and acceptance of accredited laboratory and inspection results, reducing technical barriers to trade, such as the retesting and inspection of products each time they enter a new economy. The ILAC Arrangement allows a product to be tested or inspected once and accepted everywhere and confirms competency of the bodies engaged in certification, testing, control and inspection, and calibration.

KCA has become the third accreditation body from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries to become a signatory of ILAC MAR, joining representatives of accreditation bodies from over 70 countries and regional organizations.