Therefore, to many, the trade war the United States sees intent on initiating is the country's strategy to keep China on the back foot so that it will not develop as fast as it otherwise would, and thus unable to challenge the dominant role of the U.S. in the global economic order.
U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to raise duties on up to $450 billion of imports from China.
"Put simply, the United States is opening fire on the world - and itself", Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng said on Thursday.
Economists have for months warned of the potential damage to the United States and global economies from aggressive trade policies that evolve into protectionism, which would raise prices and upend global supply chains.
US companies had US$256 billion in investment in China by the end of previous year, exceeding China's US$140 billion in the United States, according to a report by the National Committee of US-China Relations and Rhodium Group in April.
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. China said it will not "fire the first shot," but will impose tariffs on American goods immediately if the USA follows through.
"China will not bow in the face of threats and blackmail, nor will it be shaken in its resolve to defend global free trade", said Gao Feng at a news conference.
Mercedes-maker Daimler, BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen raced up as much as 5 percent after reports of a US offer to suspend tariff threats on European Union -made cars if the bloc lifts its duties on USA ones.
On Thursday, China's state media lambasted the United States.
"American public security is not sufficient", added the warning, which referenced "public shootings" and cautioned Chinese tourists to "be alert to suspicious people around you, avoid going out alone at night", and to take note of the high cost of medical expenses and the danger of summer natural disasters in the U.S.
"I'm afraid not, for now", said Tu Xinquan, a trade expert at Beijing's University of International Business and Economics, who has advised the Chinese government. "It is totally within the scope of duty of the Chinese Embassy and consulates in the U.S.to issue such travel alert".
Steep American tariffs on Chinese goods worth tens of billions of dollars are due to take effect at midnight Thursday, as US President Donald Trump fires the first salvo in a trade war between the world´s top two economies.
"There is a chance the company will lose money and might go bankrupt", said Tong.
"With these stories coming out (about auto tariffs), you have a sector which has been very oversold meeting some potential good news on the trade war front", said Bank of America Merrill Lynch European equity strategist James Barty.
The remaining US$15 billion would be imposed in the second phase would target crude oil, propane and chemicals.
In the latest sign that the risk of penalties is hitting trade, a vessel carrying US coal and heading for China was diverted on Wednesday to Singapore.
"While the direct effects of trade sanctions will take time to be felt, the indirect effects of the rising risk of a major trade conflict can be transmitted quickly through deteriorating financial conditions and confidence".