International trading relationships are built on trust and always have been. Today trust is often built via a structure of standards, agreements, codes and regulations designed to ensure that when we buy something – as businesses or consumers – we get exactly what we expect.
For these standards, agreements and codes to carry weight, they must be written and implemented rigorously and consistently in ways that give everyone involved a high level of confidence in the outcome. It is to enable that consistent rigour that the concept of National Quality Infrastructures has emerged.
A National Quality Infrastructure can be understood as having five core components: standardization, testing, measurement, certification and accreditation.
Standardization - creates the national and international standards that specify how things should be made and done in a way that is mutually acceptable.
Testing and measurement - implementation of specifications and standards to ensure validity and consistency.
Certification - ensures that those who use standards and codes are applying them in the right way.
Accreditation - ensures that those who carry out testing, certification and inspection are competent to do so.
Trading nations with a well-regarded and trusted National Quality Infrastructure enjoy a host of benefits:
The net result is greater participation in global trade and a stronger balance of payments.
For developing and transition economies, a National Quality Infrastructure forms the foundation for economic development and greater prosperity.
Read our case studies to find out how UKQI partners have helped governments around the world to build their quality infrastructures.