Pakistan is set to benefit from the proposed increase in China's imports of cloth, leather and polyester goods, Pakistani Federal Minister for Commerce, Industries and Production, Abdul Razak Dawood, said on Wednesday.

During a high-profile visit to Beijing, the minister said his government was hoping that cloth exports to China will increase by 10 million square metres a year on last year's total of 65 million square metres.

China's imports of leather and polyester from Pakistan are expected to increase from the present US$10 million, around 4,600 tons each year, to US$15m, about 100,000 tons each year.

Those rises will come at a time when the Pakistan textile and clothing industry has been devastated by a slump in orders from the US since September 11.

Chinese minister of foreign trade and economic cooperation Shi Guangsheng told his Pakistani counterpart that some Chinese companies had already enquired about ordering garments from Pakistan and that a top-level delegation would be sent to Pakistan shortly to purchase cloth, leather and polyester.