Keith Williams in Vietnam.

Companies looking to upgrade their sourcing in Vietnam now have a place to test and certify their goods in the country.

UL, a global safety science organization, has opened its new Consumer and Retail Services Testing Laboratory in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The state-of-the-art laboratory spans nearly 14,000 square feet and expands capacity in the region to test apparel, textiles, accessories, jewelry, footwear and toys for compliance with a variety of safety and performance-related requirements.

Through a formal agreement with Quatest III, a Vietnamese laboratory under the Ministry of Science and Technology, UL is poised to partner with local Vietnamese and multinational manufacturers that seek to deepen and expand their integration into global supply chains.

Keith Williams, chief executive officer and president of UL; Sajeev Jesudas, president of UL Consumer Business, and Weifang Zhou, president of UL Ventures business, joined more than 100 government officials, representatives from local industry associations and clients for the grand opening this week.

The new laboratory marks a milestone in UL’s regional business expansion for testing, inspection and audit services, and charts the course for additional collaboration in other significant areas to Vietnam, such as furniture.

“We have seen an increased need in global consumer testing services and strategically we want to be where our clients need us to be,” Jesudas said. “Vietnam is an essential country to be in as we expand our footprint for consumer testing services in the ASEAN region.”

Williams, who is also chairman of the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council, said, “Vietnam’s leadership has likewise committed to a path of reforms — administrative, regulatory and trade — that provide a strong foundation for innovation and entrepreneurism to flourish. And UL is pleased that investments and partnerships such as this one will help accelerate the Vietnam manufacturing base’s overall contributions to global trade and supply chains.”

The new laboratory opening follows the recent acquisition of U.S.-based Consumer Testing Laboratories to further expand UL’s capacity for consumer testing services. Together with Quatest III, the collaboration enables UL to provide technical training that deepens Vietnam’s scientific excellence and that builds out capacity in such soft skills areas as communications and problem solving.

The new lab is located at the Cat Lai Industrial Zone in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam is the second-largest apparel supplier to the U.S. and is part of the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

UL tests, inspects, audits, certifies, validates, verifies claims, advises and trains, and provides software solutions to client companies to promote safe working and living environments.

Its public charity, Underwriters Laboratories Inc., conducts independent research, community outreach, standards development and safety education.