France's agriculture minister will try to get Moscow to lift its ban on European Union pork, imposed in January 2014 after African swine fever was found in Lithuania, when he visits Russia next month.
"I was invited by the Russian (agriculture) minister to a show and I will go next month toRussia to exchange views, open doors on the sanitary embargo," Stephane Le Foll told reporters on Friday at a livestock fair in the French city of Rennes.
France, the EU's third largest pig meat producer, tried to get Russia to lift the part of the ban covering live pigs, offal and fat through talks between veterinary officials this year.
But an initial deal stalled after countries such as Poland criticised the move as breaking EU unity and Russia's veterinary services broke off discussions.
The EU has called Russia's ban disproportionate, saying that after the disease was detected in two wild boars immediate action prevented spread of the fever, which is devastating to pigs but does not affect humans.
The European Commission, the EU executive, opened a dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the ban last year.
EU pork exports to Russia were worth about 1.4 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in 2013. The ban cut the EU's total pork exports by a quarter, causing a severe impact on the pig industry due to a fall in prices and an oversupply of pork within the bloc.
Le Foll has been facing protests from farmers, mainly from the meat and dairy sectors hit by slow demand and low prices. About 1,500 tractors drove through Paris this month to demand more government action to stem the crisis. ($1 = 0.8748 euros) (Reporting by Pierre-Henri Allain; writing by Sybille de La Hamaide; editing by David Clarke)