James Gorman says there’s reasons to be optimistic and also a number of factors to keep an eye on over the next while in the forestry sector.

The president of the Council of Forest Industries (COFI) made the comments on day one of their annual two day convention in Prince George this afternoon.

“Some of the things that we certainly do see improving is U.S. housing starts. We’re starting to slowly climb back up over that 1.1 million mark so that’s good news,” he says. “But we are seeing a slowing down in China and one of the things that the B.C. industry has benefited from so much is the growth of the Asian market for us.”

He says the expiration of the Softwood Lumber Agreement with the United States in October brings even more uncertainty along with cuts to the annual allowable cuts in places like the Cariboo.

“Certainly annual allowable cuts have increased for a period of time and we’re now coming to the end of what has been really a historic salvage operation,” he says. “A lot of additional capacity came on in order to deal with that crisis. We’re now coming to near the end of it and so we’re going to have to see some adjustments – annual allowable cuts are going to come down accordingly.”

Gorman, who took on the role of COFI president back in September 2013, will vacate that position next month as he joins West Fraser as vice-president, Government and Corporate Relations.

He says his successor will be named within the next few weeks.