The Mass Metrology Laboratory of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) has been designated as the Regional Reference Laboratory, making it the first of its kind in the region.The designation, by the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), is in recognition of the BSJ’s capabilities in mass metrology and the value of these capabilities to the development of the regional infrastructure.Speaking at the official ceremony held on Friday morning (February 1) at the BSJ offices in St. Andrew, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton hailed the move as being of “extreme significance” in the development of industry and commerce in the region. “Most trade involves the measurement of mass or volume. Standards underpin quality, and hence, the undeniable impact of the value of metrology on commerce and trade, especially in agricultural products and by-products, which form the backbone of exports from Jamaica, and most of the Caribbean region,” he said.The Minister noted that standards development is critical to Jamaica’s effort to develop a competitive economy as the basis for deepening its integration into the global supply and value chains.“The ability of our exports to penetrate global markets hinges on the degree to which our exporters are in compliance with standards that are imposed on the conduct of trade,” he added, citing the recent passage of the Food Safety and Modernisation Act (FSMA) of 2010 that calls for new standards requirements for food exporters.“We therefore consider the designation of the Mass Metrology Laboratory of the Bureau of Standards as an important indication that we are moving in the right direction towards developing a strong international reputation as a country that is standards-driven,” he stated. He pointed out that the BSJ’s Metrology lab has been described by the Caribbean Metrology Network (CARIMET) as “the most well equipped lab in the region, with the highest level of experience and expertise”.Mr. Hylton said the regional designation has been wholeheartedly endorsed by Germany’s National Metrology Institute (PTB), which has provided significant technical support for the development and operation of the laboratory for 25 years. Executive Director at BSJ, Yvonne Hall, stated that the designation is a “signal step” for the bureau “as it moves forward in the economic development of the country and as we recognize that standards and quality is the infrastructure for global trade”.During the ceremony Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) were signed between the National Metrology Institutes (NMI) of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the BSJ; and the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and the BSJ in recognition of the facility.Mass metrology provides a unique measurement of the mass change resulting from any process step. Metrology, which is the science of measurement, plays a key role in industry, international trade and in everyday life. Accurate and reliable measurements are critical in assuring product quality, and in supporting environmental, health and safety issues.The Mass Metrology Laboratory of the BSJ was among the earliest of the metrology laboratories at the BSJ, and in the English-speaking Caribbean.The Bureau provides metrology services through a number of laboratories to various sectors including health, telecommunications, security, construction, food and beverage, and mining.