More than 500 government officials and business associates of the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency (HKQAA) will tonight attend a ceremony marking the agency's international accreditation. Guest of honour at the Island Shangri-la Hotel function will be Denise Yue, Secretary for Trade and Industry. Bryan Smith, chairman of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS); Ding Didong, director of the China National Accreditation Committee for Quality System Registration Bodies (CNACR); and Francis Ho, Director-General of Industry, will also attend. UKAS granted HKQAA accreditation in March, making it the third body in Asia to gain such status. It represents international recognition of the ISO 9000 series certification technology available in the territory. 'This means that Hong Kong will now be recognised internationally as having the technology to carry out this kind of accreditation,' said Howie Ng, the HKQAA's chief executive. 'That's good for Hong Kong industry.' HKQAA was set up by the Government in 1990 to promote the twin concepts of quality assurance and quality management as well as to serve as a certification body. Although many other such entities are operating in the territory, they are based in the US or Europe. Describing HKQAA as the market leader, Mr Ng estimated that 60 per cent of the certificates issued in Hong Kong were granted by the non-profit body. In a related development, HKQAA has also been accredited by Beijing-based CNACR, the Chinese equivalent of UKAS. 'This means our certificates will be recognised both internationally as well as in the Chinese domestic market,' Mr Ng said. The fact the HKQAA has gained accreditation from UKAS and CNACR, which are tied, respectively, with the British and Chinese governments, during the transition of sovereignty, appears symbolic. 'UKAS is related to the Department of Trade and Industry and CNACR to the China State Bureau of Technical Supervision,' Mr Ng said. But he said the decision to seek accreditation from a British body was purely coincidental. 'Britain has the most experience in terms of ISO 9000 certification. Fully 42 per cent of the certificates held worldwide are in Britain,' he said, quoting December 1995 figures, the most recent available. 'Historically, ISO 9000 is based on British Standards [BS] 5750, so they've had more experience in this area than other countries.' Mr Ng said he hoped people would not simply view ISO 9000 as 'a permit to get business. It's the implementation that's important'. 'Even without the certificate, people will be well-advised to follow the guidelines because it will still pay off with better quality, less waste and happier workers,' he said. The HKQAA is self-funding and has about 40 auditors. All have substantial experience in such fields as construction, electro-technical, toys, chemicals, information technology, textiles and the environment.