Sarah Salmond

Partner - Corporate

Sarah is a Corporate Partner with more than 20 years’ experience of advising clients on Public, Regulatory and International Trade Law matters.

Sarah specialises in helping her clients to address the challenges associated with trading goods and services across national borders. 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 The Best Lawyers™ in New Zealand 2021 and 2022. Sarah has market-leading expertise in the areas of: customs law; export controls and sanctions; anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations; supply chain risk management; domestic and overseas market access requirements; bilateral trade and investment agreements; and World Trade Organisation rules and disputes. Prior to returning to New Zealand in 2012, Sarah spent 10 years working in London, Washington D.C. and Paris. This multijurisdictional experience gives her a unique and valuable perspective on international matters.

Sarah is also a leading provider of public law and regulatory advice across a range of industry sectors, including agriculture and fisheries, food and beverage, transportation, postal and distribution, and telecommunications. She assists her clients to: understand complex legal requirements; conduct regulatory due diligence; capitalise on regulatory opportunities; participate effectively in regulatory investigations and public inquiries; present persuasively in disputes with decision-makers; and develop arguments and strategies that secure favourable legislative and policy changes. Prior to practising law, Sarah was a regulatory economist and a regulator. This multidisciplinary experience, when coupled with a thorough understanding of the political and administrative contexts, gives Sarah’s advice an edge.

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Professional background

Recent work

Regulatory advice, lobbying and disputes

Providing wide-ranging legal and strategic advice to a telecommunications company seeking Government approval to participate in the development of New Zealand’s 5G network.

Sanctions advice, investigations and litigation

Advising traders, banks, insurers, and freight companies on export controls and sanctions regimes, and notably those relating to China, Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Russia, Syria and Venezuela. This includes assisting with compliance assessments, customer and transaction due diligence, low-risk deal structuring, contractual document reviews, and the production of sanctions compliance programmes. Also representing clients in sanctions investigations and litigation conducted by the New Zealand Government, including New Zealand Customs Service v Pacific Aerospace Ltd [2018].

Public inquiries

Leading a team of five lawyers providing a dairy company with comprehensive advice relating to the procedural, substantive and reputational aspects of a Ministerial Inquiry into a food safety incident.

Trade remedy investigations into anti-competitive behaviour

Representing manufacturers, exporters, importers and retailers in more than 20 anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations conducted by the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment, the European Commission Directorate-General for Trade, and the United States Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission. Also advising clients on related judicial review proceedings.

Customs and excise advice and investigations

Advising a freight forwarder on the potential implications of breaching rules governing the importation of fire extinguishers containing an ozone depleting substance, without the necessary licence. Conducting an internal investigation, drafting a voluntary disclosure to the Customs Service and the Environmental Protection Authority, and settling the matter with the Government.

International treaty negotiations, interpretation and disputes

Advising an Australian company on whether New Zealand’s ban on overseas gambling advertisements complies with New Zealand’s international legal obligations, including those contained in the World Trade Organisation Agreements, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement, and the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Services Protocol.

Public law advice

Advising a retailer whether it was lawful for the New Zealand Government to prohibit the company from opening its stores during the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 Lockdown on the basis that they were not ‘essential businesses’. Also assessing the merits of a potential legal challenge and the retailer’s internal decision-making processes.

International commercial arrangements and disputes

Representing a seafood exporter in a contractual dispute regarding consignments of ‘non-confirming’ products the company exported to China, which were subsequently detained, rejected and returned to New Zealand. Also advising on the merits of a potential claim for damages from its New Zealand-based supplier, and preparing a bespoke Product Sales Agreement to govern the client’s export sales going forward.


  • 2013, New Zealand


  • LLB, BCA (Commercial Law and Public Policy) and BA (Politics), Victoria University of Wellington


  • Board Member, New Zealand International Business Forum, since July 2018
  • Board Member, British New Zealand Business Association, since May 2018
  • Director, AmCham New Zealand, since May 2021
  • Member, Association of Certified Sanctions Specialists
  • Member, American Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand
  • Member, Customs & International Trade Bar Association
  • Member, Food and Grocery Council
  • Member, Law and Economics Association of New Zealand, Inc


  • Agriculture, Food and Beverage
  • Competition and Regulation
  • Corporate and Commercial
  • Government
  • International Trade
  • Organisational Integrity
  • Public Law
  • Sales and Marketing


  • Recognised for Trade Law by Best Lawyers™ in New Zealand 2020,2021 and 2022
  • Band 1 for EU, Trade, WTO, Anti-Dumping and Customs by Legal 500 UK in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012