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.
While right now it is looking like it will be a tight year for profits, Hefner says farmers are used to not being able to control their circumstances and he just hopes the president knows what he's doing.
"China would never start a trade war but if any party resorts to an increase of tariffs, then China will take measures in response to protect development interests", he said.
Signs of nervousness about the trade outlook were evident elsewhere in global markets with the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc firm against the dollar while core USA and German bonds were in demand.
US President Donald Trump has threatened to escalate the trade conflict with tariffs on as much as a total of $450 billion in Chinese goods if Beijing retaliated, with the row roiling financial markets including stocks, currencies and global trade of commodities from soy beans to coal. US stocks edged higher on Thursday, lifted by technology shares, amid hopes that American trade tensions with Europe may ease after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would back a reduction of European vehicle tariffs if Washington abandons its threatened higher auto levies.
Besides the initial tariffs from the two largest economies, traders are anxious that the trade war could escalate further in the days to come.
Buying interest in US beans from China, the world's top importer of the oilseed, has slowed to a trickle ahead of the tariffs, with one remaining USA cargo heading for China still on the water.
The Chinese government appeared to be looking towards the longer term as well, unveiling a new tax plan earlier this month that will boost household consumption and ease savings levels, which will help with its economic restructuring but also mitigate effects of a trade war.
"And the impact on US business, in my estimation, will be substantial".
President Donald Trump on Monday warned the WTO that if the USA isn't treated "properly, we will be doing something".
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China's tariffs on hundreds of USA goods include top exports such as soybeans, sorghum and cotton, threatening U.S. farmers in states that backed Trump in the 2016 USA election, such as Texas and Iowa.
The back-and-forth trade battle between the world's two largest economies will likely be damaging to the USA economy according to trade experts, ths fact was not lost on the Chinese.
China's commerce ministry says Beijing has "no choice but to fight" as U.S. prepares for enforcing tariffs on more than $34 billion in Chinese imports from Friday. "The implementation time for all policies starts at midnight".
"The chances are slim for China and the U.S.to reach an agreement on trade issues, and trade war worries will be a long-term uncertainty for at least the next two years", said Yan Weixiao, an analyst with Founder Securities, adding that things could be "dangerous" for Chinese stocks.
Some of the tariffs that the US government put on Chinese products hit at very specific items, such as solar panels.
Japan's Nikkei stock index .n225 was 1.1 percent higher after closing at a three-month low on Thursday, while Australian shares .axjo gained 0.2 percent. The Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.3 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.5 percent.
Foreign companies accounted for $20 billion, or 59 percent, of the $34 billion of exports from China that would be subject to new U.S. tariffs, with United States firms accounting for a significant part of that 59 percent, Gao said. This allows Washington to take unilateral action when it determines that a trading partner has engaged in unfair practices.
"China promised not to fire the first shot, but in order to safeguard the country's core interests as well as that of the people, it is forced to fight back", a spokesperson for China's ministry of commerce said, according to news agency Xinhua.
Beijing earlier released a list of American goods targeted for possible tariff hikes including soybeans, electric cars and whiskey.