Beijing insists it's the injured party.
"We will absolutely not fire the first shot, and we will not impose tariffs ahead of the U.S.", it said in a brief statement.
The Chinese embassy in Washington has warned its citizens of traveling to the United States as trade tensions intensify.
Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on China to roughly the value of total Chinese exports to the U.S. a year ago of $506bn.
The row has caused turbulence on the world's stock markets and could hurt global trade and growth.
"Increased import tariffs could lead to a smaller GM, a reduced presence at home and overseas for this iconic American company, and risk less-not more-U.S.jobs", the plea warned.
"Clearly the first salvos have been exchanged and in that sense, the trade war has started", said Louis Kuijs, chief Asia economist at Oxford Economics.
After that, the hostilities could intensify: Trump said the U.S.is ready to target an additional $200 billion in Chinese imports - and then $300 billion more - if Beijing does not yield to US demands and continues to retaliate.
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The comments come a day before Washington and Beijing plan to implement tariffs against each others' goods in an escalating trade conflict that has rippled out to financial markets. Chinese exporters have reported United States orders fell off ahead of the tariff hike.
The duties on Chinese goods will go forward just after midnight, Trump told reporters on Air Force One on his way to Montana on Thursday.
That amount is higher than an earlier threat from Trump to target as much as $450 billion of Chinese exports.
States such as Louisiana export about $5.7bn of goods to China.
In a paper published in May, the Peterson Institute for International Economics researchers described Trump's tariffs as an "own goal" because they fail to target goods made strictly within China, using Chinese materials and labor, because that's really not how the world works anymore.
The first ever United States tariffs aimed just at China will likely rally Trump's voters who agree with his "America First" argument that Beijing hasn't played fair for years, stealing America's intellectual property and undercutting its manufacturers.
The U.S. government recently placed tariffs on Chinese imports worth about $34 billion. Ernst tells KMA News she continues to push the Trump Administration for solutions.
"There should be no doubting Beijing's resolve", the newspaper said.
Tariffs imposed so far by all sides affect about $60 billion of goods, or 0.3 per cent of world trade, according to Slater. For example, the United States government wants China to rein in government subsidies for policies like "Made in China 2025", which seeks to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into industries such as robotics, electric cars and computer chips with the aim of becoming a global leader.
A member of China's central bank monetary policy committee, Ma Jun, said Friday that the first punches will have a "limited impact" on the Chinese economy.
"Trade disruption is the greatest threat to global growth", said Dec Mullarkey, managing director of investment strategies at Sun Life Investment Management.