Energy needs


Alexander Downer, Australia's foreign minister, said the agreements will enter into force 30 days after ratification.


"Accordingly, the legal framework for Australian uranium producers to commence exports to China is expected to be in place early in 2007," he said.


The deal allows Canberra to cancel uranium exports if Beijing violates any provisions in the pact.


John Howard, the Australian prime minister, has encouraged his country to exploit its vast uranium deposits for export and to meet Australia's future energy needs.


Australia has about 40 per cent of all known uranium reserves and accounts for about 23 per cent of global production of the nuclear fuel.