Senior U.S. Commerce Official at Center of 5G, Huawei Battles Resigns

Senior U.S. Commerce Official at Center of 5G, Huawei Battles Resigns

Earl Comstock, a senior U.S. Commerce Department official who has been a vocal proponent of export restrictions on Chinese tech giant Huawei is resigning, effective Friday, according to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

In a statement on Comstock’s resignation, Ross said that he valued his “wise counsel, his deep policy expertise, his innovative thinking and leadership,” while thanking him “for his service to the American people.”

Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai told a Senate hearing in June that the Commerce Department had “been blocking our efforts at every single turn” to free up spectrum for 5G use on the grounds the sale could harm weather forecasting. Pai said the concerns were unfounded.

Comstock, who served as the director of Policy and Strategic Planning for the department and often clashed with others within the department, has yet to comment on the matter himself.

Comstock was a key figure in the department regarding issues of trade, and was perhaps most notable for trying to place further restrictions on Huawei, supporting rule changes that would limit foreign shipments of U.S. made technology to the Chinese company.

This came in the aftermath of Huawei’s inclusion on a U.S. trade blacklist last year that failed to cut off supplies, while angering the President because of potential issues it could cause to U.S. microchip sales.

“I want our companies to be allowed to do business. I mean, things are put on my desk that have nothing to do with national security, including with chipmakers,” Trump said.

Aside from his battles with Huawei, Comstock was also a supporter of the unsuccessful effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census.

Sources: Axios, Reuters