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Report: China readying retaliation if US takes trade action

China is preparing to target U.S. businesses unless Washington, D.C., drops plans for trade sanctions against it, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing Chinese government advisers and industry experts.

But as U.S. officials geared up to crack down on alleged Chinese intellectual property theft, China's Commerce Ministry said it still hoped to avoid conflict.

"We both win through cooperation. We both are hurt in a fight," spokesman Gao Feng said in remarks posted on the ministry's website, according to the Journal.

All members of the World Trade Organization should abide by its rules, Gao said, adding that the two economies were intertwined.

William Zarit, chairman of the trade group American Chamber of Commerce in China, said Chinese retaliation might target companies in different industries to those the U.S. is concerned about.

Recently concluded agricultural agreements, such as one allowing American beef exports to China, the aircraft industry or any other U.S. surplus sector could be singled out, said Li-gang Liu, chief China economist at Citigroup.