"Chinese officials said they have grown wary of the Trump administration's unpredictable decision-making process and may be hesitant to accept without a clear sign USA negotiators have authority to speak for the president", the original report said.
While no concrete details were revealed by either side, potential new talks would be aimed at staving off the next round of US$200 billion in punitive duties from the United States expected this month - the largest tariff measure in the intensifying trade war so far - and US$60 billion in retaliatory tariffs from China.
News of the invite comes as it emerged Thursday that United States firms in China are beginning to feel the pinch of tariffs already imposed on the Asian giant. "In fact, from last month's preliminary talks in Washington, the two sides' trade talk teams have maintained various forms of contact, and held discussions on the concerns of each side", he said.
"If we meet, we meet?"
Two people familiar with the effort said Mnuchin's invitation was sent to his Chinese counterparts, including Vice Premier Liu He, the top economic adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping, for talks in coming weeks.
But Beijing has come up with a non-tariff move to deal with the escalating trade battle, and it's making many American businesses' worst fear come true.
The damage from the trade war to USA businesses in China includes lost profits, higher manufacturing costs and lower demand for their products, according to the survey of more than 430 companies in industries ranging from technology to health care.
More than 60 percent of USA companies polled said the US tariffs were already affecting their business operations, while a similar percentage said Chinese duties on US goods were having an impact on business.
AmCham China and AmCham Shanghai urged the Trump administration to re-think its approach.
Two-thirds of American companies that responded to a survey said they have suffered lost sales or lower profits due to that increase, two chambers of commerce reported Thursday.
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A day earlier, more than 60 U.S. industry groups launched a coalition - Americans for Free Trade - to take the fight against the tariffs public.
About 74.3 percent said they would be affected if Washington's tariff increase on $200 billion of Chinese goods goes ahead. It was unclear whether any US-China talks would delay the duties.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow would not confirm the meeting invitation, but said that communication with Beijing had "picked up a notch".
"I think most of us think it's better to talk than not to talk, and I think the Chinese government is willing to talk", Kudlow said.
Trump appeared nonchalant about whether China met with his trade representatives to make a deal.
The sides have been engaged in an escalating tit-for-tat trade fight for months but on Wednesday it emerged that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had invited top Chinese officials to discuss the issue.
But Kudlow was non-committal over the chances of a breakthrough, adding: "I guarantee nothing".
"American companies are suffering both from China's retaliatory tariffs, and - ironically - from US tariffs created to harm the Chinese economy", the two chambers said in a statement.
Envoys from the two countries last met August 22 in Washington but reported no progress.
"If nearly a half of American companies anticipate a strong negative impact from the next round of USA tariffs, then the US administration will be hurting the companies it should be helping", he said.