Textile exports from Mauritius dropped nearly 18 per cent in the first half of 2005 from a year earlier official data showed on Monday.

With the end of quotas hitting the local industry, textile exports in the first six months of the year fell to Rs9.6 billion rupees from Rs11.7 billion in the same period of 2004.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed textile exports to the United States fell by 24.2 per cent, by 12.1 per cent to France and 1.4 per cent to Britain.

"These countries remain our principal markets accounting for 72 per cent of total exports," the CSO said.