In fact, we are terrible at it.
The above chart tracks our export market share. It is the amount of exports we ship off this island compared to total world trade. The numbers start in 1986, which is set at 100 in order to illustrate the decline more easily. From there, our market share falls. By 2007, our market share has declined by almost a fifth.
Our market share picked up a little when we get kicked out of the ERM back in 1992 and sterling collapsed. However, that positive upswing petered out by the time New Labour took control.
It all comes down to the same basic point; we are not paying our way in the world. Instead of grafting, we are borrowing and it can't last. In fact, it has stopped. Sterling has again collapsed; and the economy is in recession.
What is the solution? Well, it isn't another round of borrowing and consuming. We can't spend our way to higher export growth. We have to make things people abroad want to buy.