US President Donald Trump has suggested that he might extend the deadline for reaching a trade deal with China beyond March 1st, when additional US tariffs on a wide range of Chinese imports are set to go into effect.
Mnuchin appeared at a Beijing hotel a couple of days ahead of scheduled high-level meetings with Chinese officials in the capital, with a March 1 deadline looming to strike an accord.
While China has offered to buy more United States soybeans and beef, officials have yet even to agree on a draft of a deal that would address key USA concerns, according to media reports.
"He wants to meet with President Xi very soon", White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said Monday on Fox News.
The soft sentiment drivers for markets had circled President Donald Trump overnight with his lack of an outright objection to the border-security deal and the suggestion of his flexibility in the deadline for a trade deal with China.
But at the same time, Trump says he's not inclined to do that.
Those tariffs now stand at 10 percent, but an additional $50 billion worth of imports has already been hit by a 25 percent tariff. Officials have said March 1 is a "real deadline" for reaching a deal.
The last round of talks in Washington late last month resulted in China importing American soybeans as it implemented promises to buy more US goods.
Lower level officials had arrived earlier for what the White House has called preparatory meetings due to start on Monday.
Washington is expected to keep pressing Beijing on long-standing demands that it make sweeping structural reforms to protect American companies' intellectual property, or IP, end policies aimed at forcing the transfer of technology to Chinese companies, and curb industrial subsidies.
But US stock markets were less enthusiastic about prospects for a deal, with any optimism overshadowed by concerns about another government shutdown and a diminished 2019 US corporate earnings outlook. -China talks with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer last week, and added that he thought the talks were "constructive and serious".