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As prepared

Good morning to our U.S. companies on the line and to our Panamanian audience tuning in.  Thank you, Chargé D’Affaires Tuttle, for working with us to organize this Direct Line webinar today.  And thank you to our Panamanian presenters today, Minister of Private Investment José Alejandro Rojas and Digicel Panama Counsel Annelise Valdes, for your insights into the local market and the business opportunity you will be presenting to us today.

The Direct Line program is one of the State Department’s most effective economic statecraft tools, connecting U.S. companies directly with our mission leadership overseas and host nation speakers to learn more about promising commercial opportunities abroad.  On this Direct Line call we have the chance to explore an opportunity to expand commercial engagement between our two countries, and to expose even more U.S. companies to investment possibilities in Panama.

As I am sure many of you are aware, Central America is one of the Biden-Harris Administration’s priority regions.  Panama is a critical nation that literally bridges the north and south, while also reaching out to the rest of the world.  It is an important example of democratic governance and rule of law in the region.  It is also a good example of how the private sector can be a positive force for prosperity.  I saw examples of this during my September trip to Panama where I learned about the exciting opportunity we will discuss today.

Panama is seeking a mobile network provider to take over Digicel Panama’s assets.  This presents an opportunity in a rapidly growing market with extensive linkages throughout Latin America.  This investment will help advance fifth- and future-generation (5g) wireless networks in Panama.  5g is transformative and will touch every aspect of our lives, including critical infrastructure such as transportation, electrical distribution, healthcare, and many more sectors.  That is why the Biden-Harris Administration views the security of 5g and future networks as a high priority.

This investment in Panama will enable critical and emerging applications, including telemedicine, public utilities, and autonomous vehicles; help bridge the digital divide, and allow citizens to take part in the future digital economy.

I know there are immense opportunities in Panama in the digital technology sector, and I look forward to learning more about our potential for commercial engagement during this presentation.  Thank you again all for joining us on this Direct Line call.

I will now pass the floor back to our moderator, Anil Sarda.

U.S. Department of State

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