TORONTO, SEPT. 29 -- Canadian officials expressed guarded optimism tonight about the progress of trade talks with the United States but indicated that they want further negotiations to continue between cabinet-level officials of both countries.

Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and his 15-member inner cabinet met behind closed doors for most of the day and into the evening to consider new proposals offered to them Monday in meetings in Washington with Treasury Secretary James A. Baker III and U.S. Trade Representative Clayton K. Yeutter.

"The government believes there was movement in the talks {Monday} to warrant further political consultations," Canadian Trade Minister Pat Carney said in a statement in Ottawa this evening. "There will be ongoing communication on this issue."

Canada's chief trade negotiator, Simon Reisman, stalked out of formal bargaining talks in Washington last Wednesday, declaring that American obstinacy made it unlikely that any deal could be struck by the Oct. 4 deadline set by Congress.

Reisman returned to Ottawa where he has continued to express pessimism in press conferences and on television.

In the meantime, the bargaining moved to a higher level, with Baker and Yeutter becoming directly involved.

Carney, speaking for the Canadian cabinet tonight, indicated that government leaders here want the talks to continue at the higher level for the time being. They gave no indication whether or when Reisman and his U.S. counterpart, Peter Murphy, might sit down at the table again.

The leaders have long regarded Baker as pivotal to any successful deal.

Although senior Canadian officials deny that Reisman's walkout was a tactical ploy, they acknowledged their happiness that Baker is now involved and confess a certain chagrin at having to deal with Murphy, who is without political stature.