Economists warn that a prolonged dispute between the world's two largest economies is elevating risks to the global economy by disrupting supply chains, curtailing investment and curbing business confidence.
"We want to work for a 'phase one' agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equality," Xi told representatives of an international forum, according to a pool report, Reuters wrote.
"When necessary we will fight back, but we have been working actively to try not to have a trade war. We did not initiate this trade war and this is not something we want."
Xi was responding to questions from representatives of the New Economy Forum organized by Bloomberg LP at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Global financial markets retreated this week on fresh fears that the trade talks could flounder, with US President Donald Trump expected to sign into law two bills backing protesters in the Chinese-ruled city of Hong Kong.
Concerns of a broader deterioration in Sino-US ties weighed on markets this week. US Navy warships twice sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea in recent days, angering Beijing.
Completion of a phase one trade deal could slide into next year, trade experts and people close to the White House have told Reuters, with Beijing asking for more extensive tariff rollbacks and Washington countering with increased demands of its own.
Delays would only bring more trouble, said Fred Hu, founder of China-based global investment firm Primavera Capital Group.
"The longer the time it takes, the more variables are there, such as the Hong Kong issue," Hu told Reuters on the sidelines of the Bloomberg forum.
Beijing and Washington should strengthen communication on strategic issues, the official Xinhua news agency cited Xi as saying on Friday.
China has invited top US trade negotiators for a new round of face-to-face talks in Beijing, the Wall Street Journal said, citing unidentified sources. It added that Beijing hoped the talks could take place before next Thursday's US Thanksgiving holiday.
US officials have indicated willingness to meet but have not committed to a date, it added, and they would be reluctant to travel for the discussions unless China made clear that it would make commitments on intellectual property protection, forced technology transfers and agricultural purchases.