terminal in China -state media@
* Deal comes after BASF in July agreed to build petchem plant
* Exxon has refinery, petchem plant joint venture in China
* Comes as Sino-U.S. trade spat escalates
* China is world's largest chemical market
* Country shoring up gas supplies in battle against smog (Adds detail)
BEIJING, Sept 6 (Reuters) - ExxonMobil Corp has signed a deal to build a petrochemical complex and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in southern China, state media reported, the second major foreign investment in the world's top chemical market in as many months.
China is allowing greater access by global majors and local independents to its massive chemicals market to feed plastics, coatings and adhesives to the fast-growing consumer electronics and automotive sectors.
Exxon would be one of only a few international oil majors to invest in LNG infrastructure in China as the country tries to shore up supplies amid a switch to gas-fired boilers by factories and households as part of the government's battle against smog.
The preliminary deal was signed with the local governments of Guangdong province and the coastal city of Huizhou as well as state power company, Guangdong Yuedian Group, according to the Guangzhou Daily. It did not give a value for the deal.
Exxon chairman and chief executive Darren Woods was at a signing ceremony with provincial party secretary Li Xi and governor Ma Xingrui, the paper said.
Exxon's plan comes after a similar agreement announced in July by German chemical giant BASF to build a $10 billion plant, also in Guangdong and including a steam cracker producing 1 million tonnes a year of ethylene.
The deal could be seen as a goodwill gesture amid a deepening trade war between the United States and China as the world's top two economies have traded tit-for-tat punitive tariffs that target $50 billion of each other's goods.
Washington was holding hearings this week on another round of proposed duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports that appear likely to take effect in late September or early October.
The deal comes a day before a planned meeting in Beijing of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang with Woods.
In late 2017, Exxon signed a joint study with the Huizhou government about building a petchem plant. The company already owns a 25-percent stake of a refinery and petrochemical plant in Fujian in partnership with China's top state refiner Sinopec. (Reporting by Aizhu Chen and Josephine Mason Editing by Richard Pullin and Joseph Radford)