A state media editorial this week called America's "dictatorial bent" a global threat, while officials said China will "absolutely not" take the first swing.
The first round of US tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese products is scheduled to take effect July 6, and China has pledged to push back with levvies on an equal number of American exports.
"If the USA implements tariffs, they will actually be adding tariffs on companies from all countries, including Chinese and US companies", Gao said. "At that point, the U.S. will be more interested in negotiations, and the Chinese side will also want to come to the table".
Beijing has threatened to retaliate by raising its own tariffs on American goods, but a Commerce Ministry spokesman said Chinese authorities will wait to see what Washington does.
"However, if the Untied States adopts taxation measures, China will be forced to fight back to defend the core interests of the nation and the interests of the people", Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said, according to USA Today.
Trade war nerves had pegged all of Asia's bourses back with a USA deadline to impose tariffs on Chinese imports just a day away, but it was another widely-flagged target - the German auto sector - that drove Europe's fast start.
An American company that ships cherries to a coastal province in southeast China recently encountered a new hurdle at the border: Customs officers ordered a load into quarantine for a week, so it spoiled and was sent back to the United States.
Washington has said it would implement tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports on July 6, and Beijing has vowed to retaliate in kind on the same day. The index has lost about 2 per cent this week, plumbing a nine-month low in the process.
Ningbo Top East Technology Co., which makes soldering irons in Ningbo, south of Shanghai, used to export 30 per cent of its output to the United States, according to its general manager, Tong Feibing.
Some surveys of global export orders and manufacturing output have fallen back from earlier this year.
The company wants customers to split the cost of the tariff hike, but few are willing, said Tong.
A USA industry source said: "There is a 99 per cent chance that tariffs go into force on Friday". "I will do whatever I can, including layoffs".
European officials have told Reuters that China has put pressure on the European Union to issue a strong joint statement against US President Donald Trump's trade policies, but so far they have insisted on not taking sides.
China's second-quarter economic growth is expected to have slowed slightly from the previous quarter, a Reuters poll showed, as policymakers seek to mitigate the impact from a de-risking drive and the trade dispute with the United States.
Those goods are only a portion of the 1,333 Chinese products on the administration's list that includes electronics, iron and steel plates, engines and industrial robots.
The comments come a day before Washington and Beijing pan to implement tariffs against each others' goods amid an escalating trade conflict that has roiled financial markets.
The Washington Post's Yang Liu contributed from Beijing.