Trump's presidency is a big win for China, Ian Bremmer says

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump's unilateral policies have benefited China, according to Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer
  • Bremmer was speaking on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit
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President Donald Trump's policies have placed China as a leader on the international stage, according to Ian Bremmer, founder and president of political consultancy Eurasia Group.

A year into his presidency, Trump's priority of American jobs and the economy, a doctrine called "America First," has resulted in a broad U.S. withdrawal from international engagement, reflected by the nation's exit of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and the Paris climate change accord.

"Trump is a unilateralist," Bremmer told CNBC on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Da Nang, Vietnam.

That stance has presented Chinese President Xi Jinping with ample opportunities to boost his country's global leadership and further Beijing's superpower ambitions. For example, Beijing joined the remaining 11 TPP member states for discussions in March after Washington left the pact in January.

Many countries are experiencing a clear shift toward Beijing in the absence of other strong leaders, Bremmer said on Thursday. Not only is the world's most populous nation "writing checks," it boasts "much more control of their economy than a western advanced industrial democracy," he noted.

President Donald Trump visits the Forbidden City with China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing on November 8, 2017.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

His comments come as Trump visits Beijing as part of a five-nation Asia tour.

"The Chinese are not pro-multilateral globalization but they are pro the Chinese model, which right now doesn't have a lot of competition," Bremmer continued. Also known as the Beijing Consensus, China's growth model can be described as authoritarian capitalist and focuses on overseas investments, particularly in infrastructure, to uphold political and economic ambitions.

"The Chinese certainly feel like winners if you are a third-party country coming here to APEC and looking at what your options are," said Bremmer. That theory was recently featured on Time Magazine's most recent edition, with the issue's cover boldly stating "China won," referring to a piece by Bremmer.

Three more years of a Trump administration — potentially seven if he wins a second term — "is seen as a big opportunity by the Chinese," Bremmer told CNBC.