Dispatch from the Front: The Week of November 8

The President travels further in Asia, the lameduck Congress draws closers, and the G20 meets in Seoul. Thursday is a federal holiday, Veterans Day, and the National Association of Manufacturers will be closed.

President Obama’s Trans-Asian Express takes him to Indonesia — barring further volcanic eruptions — South Korea and Japan. The G20 opens Wednesday in Seoul, with the President in attendance. Expect more public comments embracing trade, with the possibility of an announcement about moving forward with the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement after the President parleys with his Korean peer, Lee Myung-bak. The President also attends the APEC summit in Yokohama starting Saturday, a stop that includes a tête-à-tête with new Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

It is the final week before 111th Congress returns for its first lameduck session on Monday, Nov. 15. Every day that passes brings the Jan. 1, 2011, tax increases closer, so expect more pre-session disputes, arguments, and “partisan squabbling.” But better a lameduck flap than a lameduck flop.

Economic Reports: On Tuesday, the Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for September. Commerce releases international trade figures for September on Wednesday, with economists anticipating a narrowing of the trade deficit.

Executive Branch: U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk travels to Yokohama for the APEC summit  (USTR schedule). Fresh off his trip to Scotland and Ireland to promote “clean” energy, Energy Secretary Chu starts a new tour Sunday to China and Japan. Stops  include a visit to Huaneng Power’s carbon capture and storage project and on Monday, a tour of  GE’s China Technology Center. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday attend a groundbreaking ceremony for a new visitors center at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in central Kansas.

Starting today in Washington, D.C., the National Oil Spill Commission and its Chief Counsel Fred Bartlit hold a two-day hearing on preliminary findings regarding BP’s Macondo well blowout

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