Earl Comstock, a senior US Department of Commerce official who has been a staunch defender of Chinese tech giant Huawei’s export restrictions, is stepping down on Friday, according to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
In a statement on Comstock’s resignation, Ross said he appreciated his “wise counsel, deep political expertise, innovative thinking and leadership,” while thanking him “for his service to the American people.”
Federal Communications Commission president Ajit Pai said in a Senate hearing in June that the Commerce Department had “blocked our efforts every turn” to free up spectrum for 5G on the grounds that the sale could interfere with weather forecasts. Pai said the concerns were unfounded.
Comstock, who was director of policy and strategic planning for the department and has often been in conflict with other members of the department, has yet to comment on the matter himself.
Comstock was a key figure in the ministry on trade issues, and was perhaps most notable for attempting to impose new restrictions on Huawei, supporting rule changes that would limit foreign shipments of U.S. technology to the Chinese company.
This came in the aftermath of Huawei’s blacklisting of the U.S. trade last year that did not cut supplies, while angering the president over potential problems it could cause sales of. electronic chips in the United States.
“I want our companies to be allowed to do business. I mean, things are on my desk that have nothing to do with national security, including chip makers, “said Trump.
Besides his fights with Huawei, Comstock was also a supporter of the failed effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. census.
Sources: Axios, Reuters