Incoming Trade Minister Steve Ciobo says a new agreement with India is going to be hard to win.

Mr Ciobo will be sworn in on Thursday to replace Andrew Robb in the portfolio but Mr Robb will stay on as a special envoy.

His predecessor has consistently talked up the prospect of a free trade agreement with India, insisting many times last year it would be concluded by the end of 2015.

However, the Queensland MP is more realistic about its conclusion.

"It's not easy. It is going to be hard - there's no doubt about that," Mr Ciobo told Sky News on Monday.

"India is a country that has a huge amount of potential and a huge amount of opportunity, but there is a fairly strong amount of bureaucracy."

The minister said there was a commitment from the Indian and Australian prime ministers to secure the deal.

"Sometimes it requires you to roll up your sleeves and apply a little elbow grease," Mr Ciobo said.

He said having Mr Robb as an envoy and a "mentor" made a lot of sense and should not be seen as a negative.

Mr Ciobo was hopeful the United States and Japan would ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was signed by 12 countries' trade ministers in New Zealand earlier this month.

"There's a lot of political posturing going on in the US ... but fundamentally the Americans know their national interest is well served by the TPP."

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