By Marcus Leach

Chuka Umunna, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills said that trade and export must be at the heart of a sustainable economic recovery.

Speaking at the British Chamber of Commerce's International Trade Conference in London Mr Umunna said that exporting must be at the very heart of our future, just as it was our past.

"All of us know and understand how important trade is to our country and our future," he said.

"It is as important to the future as it was to the country's past. Our past is that of a proud trading nation, and it must be at the heart of our future as we go forward."

He went on to say that the UK is in danger of falling behind in the race to become the greatest exporting nation in the world.

"We are in danger of falling behind here. The world has changed and if we are going to be successful in it we need to change the way we trade," he added.

"We have seen a return to growth in the economy, but this has been built on consumer spending and a rising housing market. This is not the export lead recovery we were promised. There hasn't been the surge in exports that we would have hoped for."

So, as we look to the future, what can be done to ensure we are at the forefront of export?

"We have to be better at making goods and services that the world wants. We have to be better at selling them, and finally we have to be better at engaging with the world," said Mr Umunna.

"We need a proper modern industrial strategy to ensure that we can carry this out. For too long we have left the shape of our economy to chance."

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