Countries recognizing Taiwan are decreasing slowly. In a world with binary, where you either recognize People’s Republic of China or Republic of China (Taiwan), the number that was 21 for the latter has decreased to 20 with Panama cutting ties with it.
Last time, it was São Tomé and Príncipe in December 2016. However much Taiwan may protest about countries changing sides, about the ‘disrespectful’ behavior and favoring checkbook diplomacy over ‘the longstanding bonds of solidarity and friendship’, the reality is that China is an emerging superpower.
While Panama may be geographically distant to be of any influence by Taiwan anyway, what the trend is being established is that apart from Vatican City, countries may slowly move towards recognizing PRC and its One China Policy wherein Taiwan is recognized as a part of (mainland) China.
Trading may be done with both the countries, but international relations is more than trade alone. Even if it was limited to trading, there are terms of trade, the treatment made. Issues such as tourism is controlled by the government if relations are fraught. As such, not only trading, but investment and tourist arrival may be expected to increase to Panama over time.
With most (11) of the remaining (20) countries coming from Latin America and with increasing Chinese investment in the region coupled with the disinterest of Trump administration, the Comprehensive Cooperation that China envisions for Latin America will in the long run (which will not be that long going by what is currently happening in the world) mean fewer countries recognizing Taiwan.