"So far, so good", he said when asked by reporters on how the meetings in Beijing went.
Pressure to seal an accord ahead of a March 1 deadline set by Donald Trump appears to have eased slightly after the USA president indicated he was open to extending a trade truce depending on progress in Beijing.
Mr. Trump's December agreement to postpone more tariff hikes while the two sides negotiate expires March 1. Both the USA and China have imposed more and more tariffs on billions of dollars worth of each other's goods over the past year and America has signalled it is prepared to increase duties to 25 percent from 10 percent if a deal cannot be reached. "We'll see what happens, but I think it's going along very well", They're showing us tremendous respect", Trump said.
Mnuchin, along with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer, arrived in the Chinese capital on Tuesday for meetings with Vice Premier Liu He, the top economic adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping, on Thursday and Friday.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a member of the U.S. trade delegation to China, leaves a hotel in Beijing for talks with Chinese officials, China, February 14, 2019.
Business groups and economists said the decision by the top trade envoys to participate suggests the talks might be making enough progress to require higher-level political decisions. "But Sino-US relations are all about the two leaders, and it will ultimately be up to Xi and Trump to come to a deal - or not", he wrote Wednesday in a newsletter.
A banquet will be hosted for the United States delegation in "a Chinese cuisine restaurant" in Beijing later this week, with Liu expected to toast the U.S. delegates. "The policy has been tested by the trade war and we have seen the change in Washington's attitude".
U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky said on Wednesday that the two presidents were expected to meet "sometime in March", but no dates were set. "It's a necessary part of the deal".
A growing number of US businesses and lawmakers hope the tariff increase is delayed while the two sides tackle the hard USA demands for major structural policy changes by China.
The latest round of talks in Beijing kicked off on Monday with discussions among deputy-level officials to try to work out technical details, including a mechanism for enforcing any trade agreement. China's trading partners say the state support for industries violates Beijing's market-opening obligations, and some American officials worry they might erode US industrial leadership.
China's Foreign Ministry referred questions on the talks to the Ministry of Commerce, which did not respond to a request for comment.
"From their point of view, they would have dodged a bullet", Green, who was USTR's top official at the US embassy in Beijing until mid-2018, told Reuters.