Ties between the two neighbors and long-time allies have been strained by U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to impose tariffs on U.S. imports of steel and aluminum on national security grounds.
"The United States will be opening fire on the whole world and also opening fire on itself", Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters on Thursday.
The following graphic ranks countries by their participation rate in global value chains, defined by the World Trade Organization as the sum of foreign value-added content of a country's exports and value added supplied to other countries' exports.
Supply chains will also suffer a blow, said Cliff Tan, East Asian head of global markets research at Japan's MUFG Bank in Hong Kong. "To put it simply, the USA is opening fire on the entire world, including itself", he said.
Gao said China would not bow to threats or blackmail and would have to fight back if the U.S. went ahead and imposed the tariffs.
China's stance shows the depth of concern about a trade war with Washington, as Trump is set to impose tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese imports on Friday.
"I think this is wishful thinking that defies common sense", Li said in remarks that circulated widely online this week, praised as a reality check as the world's two largest economies stood ready to exchange tit-for-tat tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of each other's goods starting Friday.
If things escalate, then the hit will be bigger, cutting as much as half a percentage point from growth.
The 4.3 per cent rally in European carmakers on Thursday, fuelled by discussions on lowering tariffs with the USA, suggests markets had already been primed for adverse news on global trade.
"Frankly, I don't know what action China could take at the moment that would allow the United States to not impose tariffs", the USA source said, adding that there was no evidence the two governments had any substantive engagement at the moment that could lead to the shelving of duties.
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As hopes of stopping the two leading economic superpowers entering a long and damaging trade war dwindles, Beijing issued a stinging attack on the U.S. president.
Still, a trade war would likely distract from China's efforts to expand its diplomatic, economic and military footprints overseas, notably through Xi's signature "Belt and Road" involving $1 trillion in investments in infrastructure projects across Asia and beyond.
On April 3, the United States released a list of targets for proposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, taking aim at high-tech and industrial goods.
The Chinese government has promised to respond with tariffs on equal measure soon after Trump's tariffs go into effect.
Chinese retailers told Reuters they probably would raise prices or spurn USA imports for domestic substitutes, which could eventually hurt their businesses.
Chinese state media on Wednesday kept up a steady drum beat of criticism of the United States.
Chinese stock fell Wednesday due to fears of a looming trade war.
The influential US Chamber of Commerce urged Trump this week to reconsider his actions, saying the counter-tariffs now affected $75 billion in American exports and endangered US jobs.
Economists are generally wary of tariffs, since they drive up costs for businesses and consumers. Given the 12-hour time difference, that would have put its implementation ahead of Washington's.