Employers' organisation the CBI is adding to the pressure on the Coalition Government by calling for a "coherent industrial strategy to boost exports", particularly in fast-growing emerging markets.
The business lobbying organisation – generally a staunch supporter of the Coalition's drive to reduce deficit spending – made the comments after last Friday's official trade figures showed a small rise in goods exports in September.
The group highlighted the potential for £30 billion worth of export opportunities by 2020 and urged the Government to "play to the UK's strengths" by focusing on "champion sectors", rather than the policy of "picking winners".
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Katja Hall, CBI chief policy director, said: "We are not talking about picking winners but tilting the playing field towards sectors where we have a real edge, including the creative industries and automotives."
The CBI wants the Government to draw up sector-specific action plans to ensure that the UK does not fall behind international rivals.
Among the potential high-growth sectors that the CBI has identified are: automotive; aerospace; chemicals and pharmaceuticals; agri-food; green technology and services; creative industries; and knowledge-intensive business services.