The Obama administration is engaged in preliminary talks with the European Union and China to settle a dispute over trade in solar-energy equipment and avoid a conflict among the world’s largest economies, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The effort is focused on setting a quota on Chinese exports and a minimum price for solar-energy equipment, in exchange for suspending U.S. duties on the goods, according to two people familiar with the U.S. position who asked not to be identified to discuss private deliberations.

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