The Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation was initiated in 1992 as a forum for laboratory accreditation bodies in the Asia Pacific region. Its primary aim was to establish, develop and expand a mutual recognition arrangement among accreditation bodies in the region.
The APLAC Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), formally establishing APLAC, was signed in April 1995 by representatives from 16 economies in the Asia Pacific region. A further 10 economies have joined APLAC since then.
APLAC is recognized by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) as one of five Specialist Regional Bodies (SRBs) that support the work of the APEC Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformance.
The inaugural signing of the APLAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) occurred on 19 November 1997, with 7 accreditation bodies signing the MRA for testing and calibration. The MRA was extended in November 2003 to include inspection, and in April 2007 to refer specifically to ISO 15189 (the international standard applied to medical laboratories) that had previously been included under the “testing” scope of the MRA. The inaugural signing of the extended APLAC MRA to include accreditation of reference material producers (RMPs) took place in December 2007. The inaugural signing of the extended APLAC MRA to include accreditation of proficiency testing providers (PTPs) took place in June 2014. There are currently 37 signatories to the MRA.