A formidable body of opinion has accumulated to the effect that British exporters lacked drive, initiative, innovation, vision, even energy and common sense. As a result, British export trade remained undiversified, and contracted in market range at a time when new industrial powers were presenting growing competition. The truth is that British export trade was almost as dependent on a couple of products, one of them a raw material, as the Latin American republics which were customarily condemned as examples of economic inertia. A sign of the erosion of British export trade were the British retail companies' tendencies to channel exclusively British exports directly to Argentine consumers, through outlets denied to local and other foreign manufacturers. One way of examining Britain's competitive ability is to study particular markets, taking care to select areas of the world where a respectable British export performance can reasonably be expected.