China is pushing to internationalize the yuan, and the currency is being used to conduct a growing number of transactions on international markets.
For years Beijing has kept tight control of the yuan, pegging the currency to the U.S. dollar as a way of promoting manufacturing in its export-driven economy, though it has slowly been loosening its hold recently.
The swap deal will allow more trade and investment between the regions to be conducted in euros and yuan, without having to convert into another currency such as the U.S. dollar first, said Kathleen Brooks, a research director at FOREX.com.
"It's a way of promoting European and Chinese trade, but not doing it with the U.S. dollar," said Brooks. "It's a bit like cutting out the middleman, all of a sudden there's potentially no U.S. dollar risk."