Sarah Salmond

Special Counsel

Head of International Trade

Home Our People Sarah Salmond


Sarah has 19 years’ experience of providing precise and strategic advice on a wide range of public and regulatory law matters. She heads the firm's International Trade Practice, and is the only lawyer from a major New Zealand law firm recognised for Trade Law by Best Lawyers® 2020 in New Zealand. Sarah is a Board Member of the International Business Forum and the British New Zealand Business Association. She is a key member of Russell McVeagh's Public Law team, which is recognised as Band 1 by Chambers and Partners 2019.

Sarah specialises in advising on the laws, regulations, policies and commercial arrangements governing the cross-border flows of goods, services and capital. She has market-leading expertise in the areas of: customs and excise law; export controls and sanctions; trade remedies; domestic and overseas market access requirements; bilateral trade and investment relations; and World Trade Organisation negotiations, rules and disputes. She also specialises in advising on food and beverage industry regulation, sales and marketing law, and law reform initiatives.

Sarah assists her clients to understand complex legal requirements, capitalise on regulatory opportunities, participate effectively in regulatory investigations and public inquiries, argue persuasively in international disputes, and develop arguments and law reform strategies that secure favourable legislative and policy changes.

Sarah’s deep understanding of the issues is informed by her wide-ranging professional experience. She has worked in both the private and public sectors in the fields of law, public policy and economics in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and France.


Sarah’s International Trade and Investment experience includes:

  • Advising traders and trade facilitators on complex customs and excise matters and representing them in contentious cases before the Customs Service, the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Environmental Protection Authority and the enforcement agencies of Belgium, the EU, France, the UK and the US.
  • Advising exporters, insurers and financial service providers on domestic and international export control and sanctions regimes, and notably those relating to Iran, China, Syria, North Korea, Russia, Sudan and Cuba. Also representing clients in investigations undertaken by the Customs Service, the United Nations and the UK and US governments, and in related judicial proceedings.
  • Representing manufacturers, traders and retailers in: New Zealand Government anti-dumping investigations targeting imports of stationery, diaries, canned peaches and various steel products; European Commission anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations targeting imports of compact fluorescent lamps, frozen strawberries, modems and polyethylene terephthalate plastic; and a potential Australian Government investigation targeting imports of wind towers.
  • Advising numerous companies on the implications of New Zealand's international trade and investment treaty obligations for domestic policy-making and dispute resolution. Also representing clients involved in WTO proceedings and investment treaty negotiations and arbitrations.
  • Advising clients on foreign investment controls, including the Overseas Investment Office consents process and the legislative and political framework governing inwards investment.

Sarah’s Food and Beverage experience includes:

  • Leading a team of five lawyers providing comprehensive advice relating to the procedural, substantive and reputational aspects of a high profile Government inquiry into food safety.
  • Advising food manufacturers and retailers on the rules governing product composition and categorisation, regulatory approvals, food safety and quality, packaging, labelling, health and nutrition claims, trademarks, geographical indications, advertising, exports, traceability, contingency planning and recalls.
  • Advising companies on legislative reforms relating to the Food Act, the Animal Products Act and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code
  • Conducting regulatory due diligence for companies looking to invest in agriculture, food and beverage businesses.

Sarah’s Sales and Marketing experience includes:

  • Advising manufacturers and retailers on matters relating to the Fair Trading Act, the Consumer Law Reform Bill, the Smoke-free Environments Act, and the Consumer Guarantees Act.
  • Representing manufacturers and retailers in Commerce Commission enforcement actions.

Sarah’s Law Reform experience includes assisting clients to secure favourable legislative and policy changes, such as:

  • Passage of an Amendment Order expressly permitting exports of hazardous waste to the US.
  • Implementation of the stalled Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act 2006.
  • Introduction of an EU Autonomous Tariff Quota allowing duty-free imports of boysenberries from New Zealand.
  • Modification of critical aspects of the Ministry for the Environment's proposal for implementing and enforcing New Zealand's international obligations under the Kigali Amendment.
  • Reduction of the UK Air Passenger Duty applicable for Morocco.
  • Amendments to the UK methodology for allocating radio spectrum rights.
  • Amendments to the EU’s proposed biofuels production and consumption targets.
  • Designing legislative frameworks to govern the establishment and operation of special economic zones in Iraqi Kurdistan and the United Arab Emirates.

Sarah also helps clients to develop and implement lobbying strategies targeting decision-makers and decision-shapers at all levels of seniority.


LLB, BCA, BA, Victoria University of Wellington.


Prior to joining Russell McVeagh in 2012, Sarah worked for six years as a Senior Consultant in the European Union, Competition and Trade law practice, at DLA Piper in London and Washington DC. Before entering private practice, she was an international trade negotiator for the New Zealand Government, a consultant at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, and a senior official at two industry associations in London.

Sarah’s articles on public law and regulation have been published by: Agra Europe,, The Daily Star (Lebanon), The Financial Times, FTSE Global Markets, The Grocer, Lexology, OECD, The National (United Arab Emirates), The Telegraph, Thomson Reuters, World Export Controls Review and World Finance.

Sarah is a Board Member of the British New Zealand Business Association and the New Zealand International Business Forum. She is an active Member of the American Chamber of Commerce New Zealand and the Food and Grocery Council. She is also an advocate for the export industry, and recently assumed a leading role in Export New Zealand's Export Excelerator Programme.

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