NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana congressman says the announcement of an agreement allowing rice exports to China is welcome news.

Rice is a major crop in the Acadiana region represented by Clay Higgins. The first-term Republican congressman says the expanding market will be good for a crop that contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to the state’s economy.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Thursday that the department and Chinese officials had worked out final details on an agreement that will, for the first time, allow U.S. exports of rice to China.