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'Play to UK's strengths', CBI urges ministers

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".

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.

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