By Humphrey Carter THE United Kingdom has grown to become the Balearics' largest and most important export market showing the region is not only highly dependent on British holidaymakers but also British trade. Over the past three years, the value of Balearic exports to the UK has risen from 356 million euros in 2003 to 372 million euros in 2005. Last year, Balearic exports to the UK rose by a little over eight percent while the French market performed well with an increase in demand for Balearic goods of 50 percent and China, to where exports since 2003 have risen by 90 percent. However while France is the Balearics' second export destination, the UK export market is worth more than double and is nearly five times the size of the German market. The mass export of Sa Pobla potatoes to the UK is common knowledge but Britain did not buy 372 million euros of spuds from Majorca last year. Balearics exports are vast and the Spanish Institute for Overseas Commerce (ESTACOM) is preparing a full breakdown of exports to the UK for the Bulletin. However, in general, the top Balearic exports are maritime and aeronautical navigational equipment, the two markets accounted for around 550 million euros of export trade last year. Footwear, one of the region's oldest industries remains one of the biggest export markets with the sector reporting overseas sales of around 134 million euros in 2005. Car exports are big business, especially the sale of used rental vehicles. Fuel is also big business - despite the Balearics having neither fuel nor mineral industries - supplying foreign aircraft and ships with fuel was worth some 90 million euros last year, nearly a third more than the previous year. But, despite healthy growth in the UK, French and Chinese markets, total exports of 1.1 billion euros last year represented a drop of 11 percent on 2004.