Trump says China is paying his tariffs, but U.S. companies keep getting the bill

Gantry cranes stand next to containers at Tan Cang-Hiep Phuoc Port in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on June 27. Vietnam has benefited from a surge in exports and foreign investment as businesses look to scale back their China operations or relocate to avoid higher U.S. tariffs. (Yen Duong/Bloomberg News)

Gantry cranes stand next to containers at Tan Cang-Hiep Phuoc Port in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on June 27. Vietnam has benefited from a surge in exports and foreign investment as businesses look to scale back their China operations or relocate to avoid higher U.S. tariffs. (Yen Duong/Bloomberg News)

American businesses are coping with President Trump’s extended tariff war with China by swallowing smaller profits, implementing selective price increases and shifting their Chinese orders to factories in countries such as Vietnam or Mexico.

Those strategies have helped blunt the domestic fallout from Trump’s favored trade tool. But tariff burdens that once appeared bearable — either because the financial cost was modest or they were considered a temporary negotiating tool — now are testing businesses’ ability to adjust.