The head of Mexico’s central bank said Friday that his country has weathered the global financial crisis and emerged with a healthy and growing economy, but the downturn has taught Mexico it must be less reliant on exporting to rich nations.

“We as Mexicans cannot depend on positive assumptions of growth in the advanced economies,” said Agustin Carstens, the governor of Bank of Mexico, in an interview. “We need to think more what can we do to improve the effectiveness, the efficiency of Mexico, and how can we stimulate more domestic demand.”

Carstens, who spoke to the Economic Club of Minnesota, arrived in the Twin Cities with a raft of good news about the Mexican economy.

Rising Chinese wages have helped the country gain ground on its chief competitor in trade with the U.S. Mexico is now the fourth-largest auto-maker in the world, the number one producer of flat-screen televisions and a leader in silver mining, he said.

High oil prices have also helped Mexico relative to China, magnifying the geographic advantage.

“That makes the geography of Mexico a more privileged place,” Carstens said.

Mexico is Minnesota’s third-largest export market so far in 2012, behind only Canada and China.

But the country still has work to do. Mexican lawmakers must enact stronger anti-trust legislation, Carstens said, and drug violence tends to overshadow a lot of the country's good news.

“There are many good things going on in Mexico that probably are blurred behind the sensationalism of the violence related to drugs,” Carsten said. “Even though the numbers are high, they’re isolated events, they’re targeted events, and a lot of that even has to do with the fact there is much stronger law enforcement.”

Carstens was the second guest of the season at a members-only Economic Club luncheon. Last month, Wall Street Journal economics writer David Wessel spoke. Next month, National Journal White House correspondent Major Garrett will be in town.