Mnuchin cast the weekend dinner as a breakthrough in the trade standoff with China and said there were "very, very specific" items that the two leaders agreed to have incorporated into a broader agreement that has yet to be finalized.
Trump, in a series of Twitter posts, threatened to slap a range of import penalties on Chinese products if they did not make major changes in their economic relationship with the United States.
In dealing with China so far, Trump has lived up to his self-ascribed reputation as a "tariff man". The pair negotiated a pause in the trade scandal, fuelled by the Trump administration, thereby buying time for coming up with a more comprehensive agreement that would more permanently improve the bilateral relations.
But Trump also expressed optimism for the 90-day negotiating period before tariffs are set to increase.
"China trade truce because China has agreed to start buying agricultural products from American farmers immediately", said Monica Tu, an analyst at researcher Shanghai JC Intelligence Co.
As part of the talks on Saturday night, Trump agreed not to increase existing tariffs on Chinese goods or impose any new ones for 90 days, while talks took place.
"It doesn't seem like anything was actually agreed to at the dinner and White House officials are contorting themselves into pretzels to reconcile Trump's tweets (which seem if not completely fabricated then grossly exaggerated) with reality", J.P. Morgan Chase said in a trading note.
White House officials have already begun backpedaling on President Trump's claim of an agreement with China to drop tariffs on United States cars entering the world's largest automotive market. China, which has hiked the tariff on US -made cars coming into the country to 40 per cent amid the trade fight, hasn't made a similar announcement on auto tariffs.
White House national security adviser John Bolton told The Wall Street Journal's CEO Council meeting on Tuesday that Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property was among the administration's top concerns.
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The legislation, which had eight Republican cosponsors but was not put to a vote, envisaged using revenue raised by the duties to compensate those harmed by China's actions.
American farmers have been hit hard by China's retaliation on United States farm goods, especially soybean exports, which have plummeted. But if not remember, I am a Tariff Man", he tweeted on Tuesday. "When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. "It will always be the best way to max out our economic power", he said.
China's reticence contrasted with the parade of US officials talking about the deal on Monday, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow.
Trump also tweeted on Tuesday: "MAKE AMERICA RICH AGAIN".
While tariffs alone shouldn't destroy the economy, they certainly add weight to the burden of other problems: falling oil prices, slowing real estate markets, the flattening of the yield curve thanks to "hawkish" comments from the Federal Reserve, and the sinking stock market.
"However I will give it to him that he has managed to bring China to the table", said Guajardo, who is now a senior director at Washington-based McLarty Associates focusing on global trade.
"I$3 f a fair deal is able to be made with China, one that does all of the many things we know must be finally done, I will happily sign", he explained.
Lighthizer, he said, "will be in charge of enforcement, timelines..."