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Clinton will attend APEC forum

By Dan Nakaso

LAST UPDATED: 6:51 p.m. HST, Oct 20, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be in Waikiki for November's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and will likely press for a greater role for women in Asia-Pacific economies, the U.S. ambassador to APEC said Tuesday.

Clinton, who visited Hawaii as first lady, will add her political star power along with the leaders of 21 Asia-Pacific economies, including President Barack Obama.

Clinton's goals for APEC are still being developed. But Kurt Tong, U.S. ambassador to APEC, hopes that APEC leaders draft a statement "to make women more welcome as entrepreneurs and as business leaders."

Clinton will be in Waikiki for the Nov. 11 APEC ministerial meeting made up of trade and foreign ministers.

"She's excited about coming here," Tong said. "There's a lot of potential there."

Tong is in town touring APEC venues, especially the Hawai‘i Convention Center, and meeting with the local host committee organizing the event.

"They're doing a fantastic job," Tong said. "They're well organized and have a clear vision of what they're trying to do: make sure that people leave Hawaii with a better understanding of the Hawaiian Islands as a location to do business, as a place that they should be thinking of investing in and certainly utilizing as a platform for meetings and operations in Asia-Pacific. I'm just incredibly impressed with their work."

American private industries are showing an unusually high level of interest in attending the "CEO summit" portion of the Hawaii APEC conference, Tong said. And the Hawaii host committee is trying to figure out how Hawaii companies can best showcase their capabilities to mainland CEOs, Tong said.

American companies are interested in the Hawaii APEC conference, in part, because "there's some interesting things being done here in the green area, in the sustainable development of the islands," Tong said. "There's interest in seeing how to project those into other economies, and there may be opportunities for that."

An estimated 20,000 people, including 2,000 journalists, are expected to attend the APEC conference.

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