Mexico's No. 2 presidential candidate calls Trump policies 'crazy'

Ricardo Anaya, presidential candidate for the National Action Party (PAN), leading the left-right coalition "For Mexico in Front", gives a speech during an event in Mexico City, Mexico March 15, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Romero (Reuters)

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The Mexican presidential candidate running in second place said on Wednesday U.S. President Donald Trump's economic policies were a "crazy" bid to turn back the clock on advancing technologies that will eliminate manufacturing jobs. Ricardo Anaya, the candidate for a right-left coalition, made his comments at a conference for private equity investment, where he also expressed openness to lowering taxes on private equity funds and reducing regulations limiting investments by the country's pension funds. Anaya, 39, is trailing behind frontrunner leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, 64, ahead of the July 1 elections. The ruling party's candidate, former finance minister Jose Antonio Meade, is in third place. He said Mexico needed to face the fact that many of its manufacturing jobs will disappear in the coming years due to increased automation, adding he espoused more education spending to transform Mexico into a "knowledge" economy. "The first thing we won't do are the crazy things that Trump promotes, to try to go back in time and keep digging coal mines," Anaya said. "That past is not going to return and we must understand that this reality is here to stay and the answer is education." Anaya appeared to be referring to moves by Trump to revitalize the U.S. coal industry. Anaya told the conference that he believed lowering income tax rates on private equity projects could help the economy. "If there are more breaks and the economy grows, the government in the end will raise more. But you have to understand that will not happen immediately and so the transition would have to be gradual," he said. He also said he was open to reducing restrictions on the country's pension funds, which manage around $170 billion but have strict limits on investing in private equity projects. (Reporting by Sharay Angulo; Writing by Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Sandra Maler)