Earlier Friday, China announced plans for reciprocal tariffs on 128 U.S. products, including pork, wine, fruit and steel. It came a day after Trump's announcement of tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese imports.
"Do you think that [China] has not figured this stuff out," asked Cramer. "They've got a game plan."
Trump said his tariffs on China, which primarily target certain products in the technology sector, would be "the first of many" trade actions. Beijing said it would take measures against the U.S. goods in two stages if it cannot reach an agreement with Washington.
Cramer said Trump will have to "up his game," because China was more prepared than the U.S., calling it a "beat down."
"You don't wing it with the Chinese. The Chinese are so ready for us," said Cramer, host of CNBC's "Mad Money." Trump "better understand that these guys have been in a war against us for years."
"If you're going to be in a trade war with these guys, you have to be better than they are," he added.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.