The article provides a historical digression on I. Vernadsky's development of foreign trade concepts, and considers its most significant factors, in particular the economic ones (freedom, mutual benefit, measure of needs, strength of economic law) and political ones (geopolitical influence, consolidation). The purpose of the article is to reveal the significance and relevance of I. Vernadsky’s views on the economic and political aspects of foreign trade and assess the scientist's contribution to the development of conceptual foundations of foreign trade based on historical sources. The theoretical basis of the research is the multi-directional application of the concept of foreign trade and the interpretation of foreign trade policy as a tool for successful economic development. The historical and economic methods of analysis, and the problem-personified approach to the study of the history of economic ideas are used. The author applies the tools of systematic approach for the layout of the studied by I. Vernadsky tools for the government’s activities in the field of customs policy and foreign trade. It is shown that I. Vernadsky was critical of the interpretation of an objective, and equivalent exchange and put forward the idea of the urgency of its participants’ needs, emphasizing the subjective nature of any exchange operations. At the same time, the scientist condemned the violent nature of external relations and exchange. Emphasis is placed on an important place in the study of foreign trade issues by I. Vernadsky – the influence of both economic and non-economic factors, in particular the nation’s level of education the and its connection with the level of trade. Also, in the article are highlighted the attitude of I. Vernadsky to the relationship of peoples, which is determined by the ratio of the size of their foreign trade. In return, asymmetry in trade can trigger the operation of the law of counteraction, which demonstrates the scientist's position on trade wars and their inevitability in the event of violence, expansion and robbery. It is emphasized that I. Vernadsky’s liberalism and policy of free trade in the issue of foreign trade should be implemented in conditions of low taxes and tariff duties. High duties not only minimize the mutual benefit of the parties in foreign trade, but also, according to the scientist, set up producers of individual countries against each other. This leads to a foreign policy confrontation between the two countries and international tensions. I. Vernadsky’s research of foreign trade issues in the XIX century is also relevant for the beginning of the XXI century, in particular, the idea of the importance of preventing neo-protectionism, trade conflicts and wars.