The White House is planning a major announcement this week involving two complaints to the World Trade Organization accusing China of unfair trade practices, two senior administration officials said Sunday.
The United States is taking formal legal action after months of urging China to crack down on pirated copies of U.S. films, music and software brought little consequence, the officials said.
"This is a fairly big deal," one senior administration official told CNN.
But senior administration officials acknowledged their goal is not solely to get China's attention but also to show Congress they are getting tough on the trade front, where U.S. jobs are shaping up as a major issue.
The move is an effort to drum up support among Democrats for several trade deals stalled on Capitol Hill, amid allegations the White House has not done enough to prod China.
"There are two audiences here -- China and Congress," one official said.