Eighteen months ago, the president of the Board of Trade, Michael Heseltine, asked British industry to supply him with 100 trusty export promoters 'to help design, promote, and lead the most exciting and challenging export drive we have ever seen'. He is still more than a few secondees short of a fully-fledged initiative.
The admirable idea behind the scheme was that senior executives with experience, knowledge and expertise in overseas markets would be seconded from their companies to the DTI for a couple of years, to give a wide range of British businesses the benefit of their know-how on a practical, hands-on basis - and for nothing.
Major companies have proved backward in coming forward with their brightest and best. At November's CBI conference, Heseltine revealed that only half the merry band was on board. It was a 'more in sorrow, than in anger' reminder of the importance of the real team spirit to the assembled captains of industry.
Since then re-cruitment seems to have speeded up. But experts in selling aerospace to North America and food and drink to the Japanese have so far proved elusive. Take note.