Australia Halts Sales

Of Uranium to FranceSYDNEY, Australia - Prime Minister Bob Hawke on Friday announced a freeze on new uranium exports to France on the eve of a visit by French Defense Minister Andre Giraud.

The government also said it was investigating claims by the West German magazine Der Spiegel that Australian uranium may have been illegally enriched in Europe for non-peaceful use.

Mr. Hawke also denied news reports that the Cabinet had secretly decided to extend France's contract for uranium. Australia has the world's third-biggest reserves of uranium.

Mr. Hawke said he told uranium mining companies not to start negotiations for new uranium sales until a national Australian Labor Party conference is held in June.

Australia Could Take

Its 'Beef' to GATT

TOKYO - The Australian government indicated it will follow suit if the United States brings its beef trade dispute with Japan to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

The hint was dropped in a report issued in Tokyo and in Canberra simultaneously, Kyodo news service reported. It said Australia will take every necessary action to defend its own interests in the event of a U.S. complaint to GATT, the international body that governs trade throughout much of the world.

Washington has threatened to act if Tokyo fails to specify a timetable for liberalization of beef imports by the time their four-year bilateral quota agreement expires March 31.

Japanese Plan to Invest

In Zimbabwe's Industry

HARARE, Zimbabwe - The Japanese External Trade Office (Jetro) plans to set up a range of industrial projects here totaling several billion dollars, a Jetro official here said.

Jetro Representative Director Komei Nakajima said a team from the Japanese Consulting Group has started studying prospects for a Z$160 million (US$100 million) calcium carbide and chloride alkali plant.