This week’s collapse of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization talks was a historic defeat for free trade and will unfortunately probably have negative effects around the world for years to come. The Wall Street Journal reports today:

The failure of the talks isn’t likely to have big effects immediately on the flow of world trade or on economic growth. Outside of agriculture and textiles, trade barriers generally are low globally because of decades of tariff cutting. But the consequences of the failure were still significant because of the message about the difficulty in reaching global agreements.

“This is the first failure of a multilateral trade agreement since the 1930s,” an era of protectionism, said Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The absence of trade liberalization, he predicted, would lead to an increase in efforts to protect domestic industries around the globe from competition. Although WTO chief Pascal Lamy held out hope that the talks could be revived once again, European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said the Geneva talks represented a “burial” for the Doha round.