A large euro sign installation is seen in front of the European Central bank (ECB) headquarters
A large euro sign installation is seen in front of the European Central bank (ECB) headquarters REUTERS

The trade between China and the European Union (EU) is balanced and healthy, according to the Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming.

The China-EU trade relationship had recovered to the level prior to the international financial crisis in 2008, the minister said at a news briefing for the third High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue, Xinhua, the official press agency of the government, said.

Chen said the China-EU trade volume had increased by more than $40 billion and China's trade surplus with the EU had fallen by more than $10 billion for the first 20 months of the year, without giving the exact figures for the previous year.

According to a report from the Customs Department in November, China's trade surplus had surged drastically to $27.1 billion in October after narrowing in the previous month.

Foreign trade with the EU grew about 33 percent from the previous year to $388.4 billion in the first 10 months of the year, while trade with the U.S. grew 30 percent to $310.71 billion.

The EU and the U.S. have been pressing China to let its currency appreciate, so the trade deficit between the countries can be narrowed. However, the yuan has been rising much slower than most policy makers would like it to, particularly after the U.S. issued a second round of quantitative easing early last month. The QE2 caused the dollar to fall further against the yuan.

Chen supported negotiations for a more balanced and open agreement from the Doha round of trade talks.

If the negotiations can be moved forward, then China-EU trade can be boosted further, said Chen, according to Xinhua.

Separately, China also supported the EU's efforts to stem the euro crisis, even as it remained concerned if the European debt crisis could be controlled.

We want to see if the EU is able to control sovereign debt risks and whether consensus can be translated into real action to enable Europe to emerge from the financial crisis soon and in a good shape, Chen said.

China is keen to protect its investments in the EU, and hopes that the steps taken by the government will see some effects soon.