CANBERRA, AAP – Better access to India and waking up old alliances on agriculture are next for Australia as it sharpens its trade diplomacy.

Australia is tackling the most complex Indo-Pacific environment since World War II, Trade Minister Dan Tehan told an Australian Farm Institute conference in Toowoomba on Thursday.

He reiterated Australia’s calls for a WTO dispute settlement process that works.

“We have a current dispute with China on barley. We’re considering actively a further dispute when it comes to wine,” Mr Tehan said.

He says liberal democracies need to set the global trade rules and have all countries adhere to them.

“We’ve got to get the World Trade Organisation back in the paramount place that it used to hold a decade ago.”

The new WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who took office in March, is going to need a lot of help with her agenda and Australia is “leaning heavily in” at the moment, the minister says.

“It’s not just the World Trade Organisation we’re looking at,” he said.

“Our economic partnership with India, we continue to try to see how we can grow that and get more access to agreements that would provide rules around further liberalisation between Australia and India.”

After successive governments had stumbled on a comprehensive deal for more than a decade, Mr Tehan said he would be putting a proposal to his Indian counterpart in the coming weeks.

“Then hopefully, with a little bit of patience we’ll be able to see whether we can get an outcome.”

Regional ministers will meet in July to try to deal with fisheries subsidies, unresolved for more than a decade at the WTO.

Mr Tehan said a “re-invigorated” Cairns Group was meeting next week so agriculture subsidies could get back on the agenda.

Made up of 19 developed and developing agricultural exporting economies, the group was an influential voice in agricultural trade reform after it was set up in 1986.

Pacific rim ministers met two weeks ago and reiterated the need for the WTO to maintain a rules-based order.

Mr Tehan said the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum was also looking at other opportunities to free up trade in the region, particularly for “environmental goods” such as solar panels and wind turbines.