Mexico's president has proposed creating three "special economic zones" to spur development in the country's poorer southern areas.

The first three zones will be in the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas and the third is planned for the area around the Pacific coast seaport of Lazaro Cardenas.

President Enrique Pena Nieto announced he will send the proposals to Congress on Tuesday.

The areas will get special tax and customs benefits to attract investment and job creation. There will also be some streamlining of permitting and other procedures.

Some areas of northern and central Mexico are more industrially and technologically sophisticated, while much of the south has lagged behind.

In Pena Nieto's words, "We cannot allow such large and growing socio-economic differences to exist between the north and south."