Efforts to persuade India to open up its booming legal market must be urgently stepped up, according to the president of Birmingham Law Society.
Sukhdev Bhomra, who recently visited Mumbai to see first-hand how Indian lawyers were reacting to proposals to liberalise the system there, said the country was the world's "final legal frontier".
He said in recent years the increasing strength of India's economy had led to a growing demand for legal services in the country - but non-Indian firms were missing out on the boom.
"India has a very protectionist legal system which means that European firms and others cannot set up and operate there," he said.
"India's economy is one of the fastest growing in the world and there is no doubt that European law firms would be able to provide a wide range of legal services to the market.
However, the rules say that foreign lawyers aren't allowed and there is a great debate going on within the country over this issue."
Mr Bhomra said that whilst the Indian government had hinted that it wanted to modernise and liberalise its legal market, there has been opposition from the Bar Council of India, which is the country's legal representative group.
However, he added that is was not clear whether the Indian lawyers themselves backed the Bar Council to any great degree.
"During my recent visit, I spoke to many local lawyers, and most of them seemed to accept that change was inevitable, although it might take some time to occur," he noted.
"At the moment there is a two stage approach which is being considered - the first is about allowing greater co-operation between foreign firms and Indian firms. The second stage would see foreign firms being allowed to advise on the laws of their respective countries and be based in India."
Mr Bhomra said that in order for these proposals to move forward, it was important for any organisation with a vested interest to do whatever it could to take part in a concerted lobbying campaign to help bring about liberalisation.
"We also noted that the issue is being widely debated in the Indian media, and we are hoping that positive action will be taken to improve the situation in the not too distant future."
Birmingham Law Society have played a key role in lobbying the Indians, and continue to do so.
Solicitors from Cobbetts, Harris Cooper Walsh, Jonas Roy Bloom, Murria Solicitors and Needham & James accompanied Mr Bhomra on the trip, which focused on the Indian capital, Mumbai, taking in a visit to the British Deputy High Commissioner's offices.
The visit was organised by BLS's international committee and supported by Birmingham Chamber International Team and UK Trade and Investment, the government organisation which assists UK companies to trade internationally.
Meanwhile, plans to impose new EU taxes on candles from China are being condemned by the British Retail Consortium as another slap in the face for consumers and retailers.
The European Commission has begun work on an "anti-dumping" investigation. It will decide whether it believes claims by some European makers that China is selling candles into the EU at below the cost of manufacture.
This latest move comes after previous decisions by the EU to impose import duties on low energy light bulbs and shoes from China.
The BRC says the new candle tax shows EU trade policy risks going in exactly the wrong direction - adding more restrictions and tariffs, rather than encouraging global free trade.
Retailers say other candle making countries cannot produce the quantities customers require, so the new duty would force up shop prices directly and reduce supply.
It is expected to be introduced before September for five years. It could add well over 50 per cent to the dockside price of candles.
Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said: "The principle here is that free trade is good for the customer. The EU talks about the benefits of free trade but, yet again, does exactly the opposite. Like a parent constantly indulging a spoilt child, the EU repeatedly feather beds uncompetitive European producers, at the expense of consumers and retailers.
"This candle scandal may not be the major EU trade issue but it follows a string of other new import duties on products, most recently low energy light bulbs - not good for customers or the planet.
"There is no justification for customers going short of supplies and being forced to pay more. Protectionism can never be a long term answer for European manufacturers. In fact it makes it harder for EU producers to gain access to Chinese markets."
Chinese imports accounted for £210 million of the EU's £626 million candle market in 2006. More than 90 per cent of all EU candle imports came from China.