LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Louisiana Rice Promotion Board chairman Kevin Berken says lifting the Cuban trade embargo could mean the return of a major market for Louisiana rice. He says Cuba imports about 600,000 metric tons of rice a year, with Vietnam as its biggest supplier.

The Advertiser reports that Berken was among four panelists at a conference last week in Lafayette. It was held a day after the government announced President Barack Obama's amendments to existing Cuban sanctions.

Only Congress can fully end the 54-year embargo.

Gary LaGrange, president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans, says the embargo eventually will be lifted, and Cuba needs lots of things. He says its location 700 miles from Louisiana's coast makes New Orleans an especially convenient port.