Mauritius is placing itself firmly in the minds of UK buyers as it reaffirms the importance of its trading relationship with the country.

Speaking at an Enterprise Mauritius event in London yesterday (3 April), the country's High Commissioner, Abhimanu Kundasamy, told attendees the UK is "the most important trading partner" for Mauritius and "a very important partner" for its exporters.

"The UK and Mauritian relationship is a very deep and broad one, across many fields. Indeed, we have many things in common: our educational system; our health system; our civil service; and government structure. Our trading ties date almost 200 years. This is a natural reflection of this historically strong bond."

In fiscal 2013, Mauritian exports to the UK reached MUR11.9bn (US$396.7m), of which, MUR5.6bn represented textiles.

Kundasamy was keen to point out to buyers the advantages of sourcing manufacturing from Mauritius.

"Mauritian manufacturers are conscious of, and satisfy, the most stringent standards in terms of social and environmental compliance. That is in terms of labour rules, worker safety, environmental compliance and meeting timely deliveries."

The Mauritian Fashion Fiesta, held at the Emirates Stadium in London, and organised by Enterprise Mauritius, was aimed at bringing UK and European buyers together.

Enterprise Mauritius CEO, Dev Chamroo, reiterated the significance of the UK as the country's "most important trading partner" before the US. 

"Sourcing patterns are changing. All sourcing companies are looking at different countries in the world. We have seen this with China, India, and Bangladesh. Now it's Sri Lanka and Africa. Mauritius presents itself to you as a seasoned player. We are not the biggest player but we are a seasoned player."

Enterprise Mauritius chairman, Amedee Darga, added: "We have developed an industry which is over 40 years old and where we clearly have the ambition of not aiming at beating the competition on price only, not trying to level down to the cheapest products in the world, but aiming to bring you the best quality product in Europe: as a sustained supplier, and one which is responsive and flexible to your sourcing needs."