January 13, 2014 / 7:25 PM / in 6 years

Obama to visit Mexico in February for leaders summit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will visit Mexico in February to attend a North American leaders’ summit, the White House said on Monday.

U.S. President Barack Obama urges Congress to act and extend emergency unemployment insurance benefits while at an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, January 7, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama would travel to Toluca, Mexico, on February 19.

Obama will attend the annual North American leaders summit along with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The U.S. president visited Mexico last May and held talks with Pena Nieto and the two leaders emphasized economic issues in a relationship that has long been dominated by security concerns.

Carney said the leaders will discuss a range of issues such as economic competitiveness, trade and investment and citizen security.

Obama called Pena Nieto on Monday to congratulate him on “the important reforms” the Mexican leader has undertaken in his first year in office, the White House said in a statement.

Pena Nieto last month signed into law a radical reform of the country’s energy market, ending a 75-year oil and gas monopoly in hopes of attracting investments to boost production.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s raised its credit rating for Mexico by a notch on the energy reform, calling it a watershed moment that boosts the country’s long-term growth prospects.

The energy sector overhaul is a centerpiece of a broad range of reforms pushed by the Mexican leader as part of an effort to boost growth in Latin America’s second-largest economy.

Pena Nieto has overseen passage of a major education overhaul, shaken up oversight of the telecommunications market, and pushed through reforms of the tax system and banking rules.

Reporting by Steve Holland and Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Ken Wills

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