Britain is not doing enough to push its manufacturing expertise across the globe, according to a Lancashire export expert.
Graham James, a director of Leyland-based Flexcrete Technologies which sells its coatings products across the globe, said more needed to be done to show the unique technologies developed at home.
He believes the internet offers firms a shop window to grow global connections without leaving home.
The director is one of five ‘export champions’ appointed by international trade body UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) earlier this year to promote overseas sales.
Mr James said: “As a nation, we have lost sight of the importance of our manufacturing base.
“We are not in the fortunate position of other countries where we are looking to export our products overseas as much as we should, we are being sold to more than we are selling.
“There are areas of engineering, in particular the chemicals sector in the North West, which are a big earner.”
He said manufacturers were “struggling to articulate” their unique technologies as clearly as they need to.
The boss said: “Those who do it, do it very well, but there is a lot of good business out there waiting to be taken.
“We have a window to the world through the internet which can give people a real head start to make connections before they get out into the markets.”
New statistics show traditional European markets levelling off with exports to growing economies such as China, Brazil, India and the Middle East growing.
In 2012, sales to Greater China, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, rose past £2bn for the first time.