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Mexico to host US, Canada in February summit

Mexico City (AFP) - Mexico will host the leaders of the United States and Canada next month for a summit to revitalize the 20-year-old NAFTA trade bloc, the Mexican foreign ministry said Thursday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergio Alcocer said a tentative date of February 19 was set for the meeting between President Enrique Pena Nieto, US President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"It will be a unique opportunity to relaunch the trinational agenda," Alcocer told a news conference.

Mexico has yet to decide on the city that will host the summit.

The North American Free Trade Agreement marked its 20th anniversary on January 1, unleashing massive commerce between the three nations.

The trade bloc represents 450 million people producing $17 trillion worth of goods and services, according to US government figures.

During a visit to Mexico last May, Obama and Pena Nieto launched a high-level economic forum to deepen economic ties that now amount to $500 billion in two-way trade every year.

The three trade partners will discuss ways to seize on the region's gas reserves, which are the biggest in the world, Alcocer said without giving more details about the summit agenda.

The summit comes after Mexico passed a series of major structural reforms, including an opening of the energy sector that will end the 75-year-old state oil and gas monopoly.

It will be Pena Nieto's first NAFTA summit since he took office in December 2012. The last summit took place in Washington on April 2012, when Felipe Calderon was president of Mexico.